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Narrative And Miscellaneous Papers by Thomas De Quincey

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commentaries and the _corollaries_ of Coleridge. Whither has this
work, and so many others swathed about with Coleridge's MS. notes,
vanished from the world?] he had cruised over the broad Atlantic of
Kant and Schelling, of Fichte and Oken. Where is the man who shall be
equal to these things? We at least make no such adventurous effort; or,
if ever we should presume to do so, not at present. Here we design only
to make a coasting voyage of survey round the headlands and most
conspicuous seamarks of our subject, as they are brought forward by Mr.
Gillman, or collaterally suggested by our own reflections; and
especially we wish to say a word or two on Coleridge as an opium-eater.

Naturally the first point to which we direct our attention, is the
history and personal relations of Coleridge. Living with Mr. Gillman
for nineteen years as a domesticated friend, Coleridge ought to have
been known intimately. And it is reasonable to expect, from so much
intercourse, some additions to our slender knowledge of Coleridge's
adventures, (if we may use so coarse a word,) and of the secret springs
at work in those early struggles of Coleridge at Cambridge, London,
Bristol, which have been rudely told to the world, and repeatedly told,
as showy romances, but never rationally explained.

The anecdotes, however, which Mr. Gillman has added to the personal
history of Coleridge, are as little advantageous to the effect of his
own book as they are to the interest of the memorable character which
he seeks to illustrate. Always they are told without grace, and
generally are suspicious in their details. Mr. Gillman we believe to be
too upright a man for countenancing any untruth. He has been deceived.
For example, will any man believe this? A certain 'excellent
equestrian' falling in with Coleridge on horseback, thus accosted him--
'Pray, Sir, did you meet a tailor along the road?' '_A tailor_!'
answered Coleridge; '_I did meet a person answering such a description,
who told me he had dropped his goose; that if I rode a little further
I should find it; and I guess he must have meant you._' In Joe Miller
this story would read, perhaps, sufferably. Joe has a privilege; and
we do not look too narrowly into the mouth of a Joe-Millerism. But
Mr. Gillman, writing the life of a philosopher, and no jest-book, is
under a different law of decorum. That retort, however, which silences
the jester, it may seem, must be a good one. And we are desired to
believe that, in this case, the baffled assailant rode off in a spirit
of benign candor, saying aloud to himself, like the excellent
philosopher that he evidently was, 'Caught a Tartar!'

But another story of a sporting baronet, who was besides a Member of
Parliament, is much worse, and altogether degrading to Coleridge. This
gentleman, by way of showing off before a party of ladies, is
represented as insulting Coleridge by putting questions to him on the
qualities of his horse, so as to draw the animal's miserable defects
into public notice, and then closing his display by demanding what he
would take for the horse 'including the rider.' The supposed reply of
Coleridge might seem good to those who understand nothing of true
dignity; for, as an _impromptu_, it was smart and even caustic.
The baronet, it seems, was reputed to have been bought by the minister;
and the reader will at once divine that the retort took advantage of
that current belief, so as to throw back the sarcasm, by proclaiming
that neither horse nor rider had a price placarded in the market at
which any man could become their purchaser. But this was not the temper
in which Coleridge either did reply, or could have replied. Coleridge
showed, in the _spirit_ of his manner, a profound sensibility to
the nature of a gentleman; and he felt too justly what it became a
self-respecting person to say, ever to have aped the sort of flashy
fencing which might seem fine to a theatrical blood.

Another story is self-refuted: 'A hired partisan' had come to one of
Coleridge's political lectures with the express purpose of bringing the
lecturer into trouble; and most preposterously he laid himself open to
his own snare by refusing to pay for admission. Spies must be poor
artists who proceed thus. Upon which Coleridge remarked--'That, before
the gentleman kicked up a dust, surely he would down with the dust.' So
far the story will not do. But what follows is possible enough. The
_same_ 'hired' gentleman, by way of giving unity to the tale, is
described as having hissed. Upon this a cry arose of 'Turn him out!'
But Coleridge interfered to protect him; he insisted on the man's right
to hiss if he thought fit; it was legal to hiss; it was natural to
hiss; 'for what is to be expected, gentlemen, when the cool waters of
reason come in contact with red-hot aristocracy, but a hiss?' _Euge!_

Amongst all the anecdotes, however of this splendid man, often trivial,
often incoherent, often unauthenticated, there is one which strikes us
as both true and interesting; and we are grateful to Mr. Gillman for
preserving it. We find it introduced, and partially authenticated, by
the following sentence from Coleridge himself:--'From eight to fourteen
I was a playless day-dreamer, a _helluo librorum_; my appetite for
which was indulged by a singular incident. A stranger, who was struck
by my conversation, made me free of a circulating library in King's
Street, Cheapside.' The more circumstantial explanation of Mr. Gillman
is this: `The incident indeed was singular. Going down the Strand, in
one of his day-dreams, fancying himself swimming across the Hellespont,
thrusting his hands before him as in the act of swimming, his hand came
in contact with a gentleman's pocket. The gentleman seized his hand,
turning round, and looking at him with some anger--"What! so young, and
yet so wicked?" at the same time accused him of an attempt to pick his
pocket. The frightened boy sobbed out his denial of the intention, and
explained to him how he thought himself Leander swimming across the
Hellespont. The gentleman was so struck and delighted with the novelty
of the thing, and with the simplicity and intelligence of the boy, that
he subscribed, as before stated, to the library; in consequence of
which Coleridge was further enabled to indulge his love of reading.'

We fear that this slovenly narrative is the very perfection of bad
story-telling. But the story itself is striking, and, by the very
oddness of the incidents, not likely to have been invented. The effect,
from the position of the two parties--on the one side, a simple child
from Devonshire, dreaming in the Strand that he was swimming over from
Sestos to Abydos, and, on the other, the experienced man, dreaming only
of this world, its knaves and its thieves, but still kind and generous
--is beautiful and picturesque. _Oh! si sic omnia!_

But the most interesting to us of the _personalities_ connected
with Coleridge are his feuds and his personal dislikes.
Incomprehensible to us is the war of extermination which Coleridge made
upon the political economists. Did Sir James Steuart, in speaking of
vine-dressers, (not _as_ vine-dressers, but generally as
cultivators,) tell his readers, that, if such a man simply replaced his
own consumption, having no surplus whatever or increment for the public
capital, he could not be considered a useful citizen? Not the beast in
the Revelation is held up by Coleridge as more hateful to the spirit of
truth than the Jacobite baronet. And yet we know of an author--viz.,
one S. T. Coleridge--who repeated that same doctrine without finding
any evil in it. Look at the first part of the _Wallenstein_, where
Count Isolani having said, 'Pooh! we are _all_ his subjects,'
_i. e._, soldiers, (though unproductive laborers,) not less than
productive peasants, the emperor's envoy replies--'Yet with a
difference, general;' and the difference implies Sir James's scale, his
vine-dresser being the equatorial case between the two extremes of the
envoy. Malthus again, in his population-book, contends for a mathematic
difference between animal and vegetable life, in respect to the law of
increase, as though the first increased by geometrical ratios, the last
by arithmetical! No proposition more worthy of laughter; since both,
when permitted to expand, increase by geometrical ratios, and the
latter by much higher ratios. Whereas, Malthus persuaded himself of his
crotchet simply by refusing the requisite condition in the vegetable
case, and granting it in the other. If you take a few grains of wheat,
and are required to plant all successive generations of their produce
in the same flower-pot for ever, of course you neutralize its expansion
by your own act of arbitrary limitation. [Footnote: Malthus would have
rejoined by saying--that the flowerpot limitation was the actual
limitation of nature in our present circumstances. In America it is
otherwise, he would say, but England is the very flowerpot you suppose;
she is a flowerpot which cannot be multiplied, and cannot even be
enlarged. Very well, so be it (which we say in order to waive
irrelevant disputes). But then the true inference will be--not that
vegetable increase proceeds under a different law from that which
governs animal increase, but that, through an accident of position, the
experiment cannot be tried in England. Surely the levers of Archimedes,
with submission to Sir Edward B. Lytton, were not the less levers
because he wanted the _locum standi_. It is proper, by the way,
that we should inform the reader of this generation where to look for
Coleridge's skirmishings with Malthus. They are to be found chiefly in
the late Mr. William Hazlitt's work on that subject: a work which
Coleridge so far claimed as to assert that it had been substantially
made up from his own conversation.] But so you would do, if you tried
the case of _animal_ increase by still exterminating all but one
replacing couple of parents. This is not to try, but merely a pretence
of trying, one order of powers against another. That was folly. But
Coleridge combated this idea in a manner so obscure, that nobody
understood it. And leaving these speculative conundrums, in coming to
the great practical interests afloat in the Poor Laws, Coleridge did so
little real work, that he left, as a _res integra_, to Dr. Alison,
the capital argument that legal and _adequate_ provision for the
poor, whether impotent poor or poor accidentally out of work, does not
extend pauperism--no, but is the one great resource for putting it
down. Dr. Alison's overwhelming and _experimental_ manifestations
of that truth have prostrated Malthus and his generation for ever. This
comes of not attending to the Latin maxim--'_Hoc_ age'--mind the
object before you. Dr. Alison, a wise man, '_hoc_ egit:' Coleridge
'_aliud_ egit.' And we see the result. In a case which suited him,
by interesting his peculiar feeling, Coleridge could command

'Attention full ten times as much as there needs.'

But search documents, value evidence, or thresh out bushels of
statistical tables, Coleridge could not, any more than he could ride
with Elliot's dragoons.

Another instance of Coleridge's inaptitude for such studies as
political economy is found in his fancy, by no means 'rich and rare,'
but meagre and trite, that taxes can never injure public prosperity by
mere excess of quantity; if they injure, we are to conclude that it
must be by their quality and mode of operation, or by their false
appropriation, (as, for instance, if they are sent out of the country
and spent abroad.) Because, says Coleridge, if the taxes are exhaled
from the country as vapors, back they come in drenching showers. Twenty
pounds ascend in a Scotch mist to the Chancellor of the Exchequer from
Leeds; but does it evaporate? Not at all: By return of post down comes
an order for twenty pounds' worth of Leeds cloth, on account of
Government, seeing that the poor men of the ----th regiment want new
gaiters. True; but of this return twenty pounds, not more than four
will be profit, _i.e._, surplus accruing to the public capital;
whereas, of the original twenty pounds, every shilling was surplus. The
same unsound fancy has been many times brought forward; often in
England, often in France. But it is curious, that its first appearance
upon any stage was precisely two centuries ago, when as yet political
economy slept with the pre-Adamites, viz., in the Long Parliament. In a
quarto volume of the debates during 1644-45, printed as an independent
work, will be found the same identical doctrine, supported very
sonorously by the same little love of an illustration from the see-saw
of mist and rain.

Political economy was not Coleridge's forte. In politics he was
happier. In mere personal politics, he (like every man when reviewed
from a station distant by forty years) will often appear to have erred;
nay, he will be detected and nailed in error. But this is the necessity
of us all. Keen are the refutations of time. And absolute results to
posterity are the fatal touchstone of opinions in the past. It is
undeniable, besides, that Coleridge had strong personal antipathies,
for instance, to Messrs. Pitt and Dundas. Yet _why_, we never
could understand. We once heard him tell a story upon Windermere, to
the late Mr. Curwen, then M. P. for Workington, which was meant,
apparently, to account for this feeling. The story amounted to this;
that, when a freshman at Cambridge, Mr. Pitt had wantonly amused
himself at a dinner party in Trinity, in smashing with filberts
(discharged in showers like grape-shot) a most costly dessert set of
cut glass, from which Samuel Taylor Coleridge argued a principle of
destructiveness in his _cerebellum_. Now, if this dessert set
belonged to some poor suffering Trinitarian, and not to himself, we are
of opinion that he was faulty, and ought, upon his own great subsequent
maxim, to have been coerced into 'indemnity for the past, and security
for the future.' But, besides that this glassy _mythus_ belongs to
an æra fifteen years earlier than Coleridge's so as to justify a shadow
of scepticism, we really cannot find, in such an _escapade_ under
the boiling blood of youth, any sufficient justification of that
withering malignity towards the name of Pitt, which runs through
Coleridge's famous _Fire, Famine, and Slaughter_. As this little
viperous _jeu-d'esprit_ (published anonymously) subsequently
became the subject of a celebrated after-dinner discussion in London,
at which Coleridge (_comme de raison_) was the chief speaker, the
reader of this generation may wish to know the question at issue; and
in order to judge of _that_, he must know the outline of this
devil's squib. The writer brings upon the scene three pleasant young
ladies, viz., Miss Fire, Miss Famine, and Miss Slaughter. 'What are you
up to? What's the row?'--we may suppose to be the introductory question
of the poet. And the answer of the ladies makes us aware that they are
fresh from larking in Ireland, and in France. A glorious spree they
had; lots of fun; and laughter _a discretion_. At all times
_gratus puellæ risus ab angulo_; so that we listen to their little
gossip with interest. They had been setting men, it seems, by the ears;
and the drollest little atrocities they do certainly report. Not but we
have seen better in the Nenagh paper, so far as Ireland is concerned.
But the pet little joke was in La Vendee. Miss Famine, who is the girl
for our money, raises the question--whether any of them can tell the
name of the leader and prompter to these high jinks of hell--if so, let
her whisper it.

'Whisper it, sister, so and so,
In a dark hint--distinct and low.'

Upon which the playful Miss Slaughter replies:--

'Letters _four_ do form his name.
* * * * *
He came by stealth and unlock'd my den;
And I have drunk the blood since then
Of thrice three hundred thousand men.'

Good: but the sting of the hornet lies in the conclusion. If this
quadriliteral man had done so much for _them_, (though really, we
think, 6s. 8d. might have settled his claim,) what, says Fire, setting
her arms a-kimbo, would they do for _him_? Slaughter replies,
rather crustily, that, as far as a good kicking would go--or (says
Famine) a little matter of tearing to pieces by the mob--they would be
glad to take tickets at his benefit. 'How, you bitches!' says Fire, 'is
that all?

'I alone am faithful; I
_Cling to him everlastingly_.'

The sentiment is diabolical. And the question argued at the London
dinner-table was--Could the writer have been other than a devil? The
dinner was at the late excellent Mr. Sotheby's, known advantageously in
those days as the translator of Wieland's _Oberon_. Several of the
great guns amongst the literary body were present; in particular, Sir
Walter Scott; and he, we believe, with his usual good-nature, took the
apologetic side of the dispute. In fact, he was in the secret. Nobody
else, barring the author, knew at first whose good name was at stake.
The scene must have been high. The company kicked about the poor
diabolic writer's head as if it had been a tennis-ball. Coleridge, the
yet unknown criminal, absolutely perspired and fumed in pleading for
the defendant; the company demurred; the orator grew urgent; wits began
to _smoke_ the case, as active verbs; the advocate to _smoke_, as a
neuter verb; the 'fun grew fast and furious;' until at length
_delinquent arose_, burning tears in his eyes, and confessed to an
audience, (now bursting with stifled laughter, but whom he supposed to
be bursting with fiery indignation,) 'Lo! I am he that wrote it.'

For our own parts, we side with Coleridge. Malice is not always of the
heart. There is a malice of the understanding and the fancy. Neither do
we think the worse of a man for having invented the most horrible and
old-woman-troubling curse that demons ever listened to. We are too apt
to swear horribly ourselves; and often have we frightened the cat, to
say nothing of the kettle, by our shocking [far too shocking!] oaths.

There were other celebrated men whom Coleridge detested, or seemed to
detest--Paley, Sir Sidney Smith, Lord Hutchinson, (the last Lord
Donoughmore,) and Cuvier. To Paley it might seem as if his antipathy
had been purely philosophic; but we believe that partly it was
personal; and it tallies with this belief, that, in his earliest
political tracts, Coleridge charged the archdeacon repeatedly with his
own joke, as if it had been a serious saying, viz.--'That he could not
afford to keep a conscience;' such luxuries, like a carriage, for
instance, being obviously beyond the finances of poor men.

With respect to the philosophic question between the parties, as to the
grounds of moral election, we hope it is no treason to suggest that
both were perhaps in error. Against Paley, it occurs at once that he
himself would not have made consequences the _practical_ test in
valuing the morality of an act, since these can very seldom be traced
at all up to the final stages, and in the earliest stages are
exceedingly different under different circumstances; so that the same
act, tried by its consequences, would bear a fluctuating appreciation.
This could not have been Paley's _revised_ meaning. Consequently,
had he been pressed by opposition, it would have come out, that by
_test_ he meant only _speculative_ test: a very harmless doctrine
certainly, but useless and impertinent to any purpose of his system.
The reader may catch our meaning in the following illustration.
It is a matter of general belief, that happiness, upon the whole,
follows in a higher degree from constant integrity, than from the
closest attention to self-interest. Now happiness is one of those
consequences which Paley meant by final or remotest. But we could never
use this idea as an exponent of integrity, or interchangeable
criterion, because happiness cannot be ascertained or appreciated
except upon long tracts of time, whereas the particular act of
integrity depends continually upon the election of the moment. No man,
therefore, could venture to lay down as a rule, Do what makes you
happy; use this as your test of actions, satisfied that in that case
always you will do the thing which is right. For he cannot discern
independently what _will_ make him happy; and he must decide on
the spot. The use of the _nexus_ between morality and happiness
must therefore be inverted; it is not practical or prospective, but
simply retrospective; and in that form it says no more than the good
old rules hallowed in every cottage. But this furnishes no practical
guide for moral election which a man had not, before he ever thought of
this _nexus_. In the sense in which it is true, we need not go to
the professor's chair for this maxim; in the sense in which it would
serve Paley, it is absolutely false.

On the other hand, as against Coleridge, it is certain that many acts
could be mentioned which are judged to be good or bad only because
their consequences are known to be so, whilst the great catholic acts
of life are entirely (and, if we may so phrase it, haughtily)
independent of consequences. For instance, fidelity to a trust is a law
of immutable morality subject to no casuistry whatever. You have been
left executor to a friend--you are to pay over his last legacy to X,
though a dissolute scoundrel; and you are to give no shilling of it to
the poor brother of X, though a good man, and a wise man, struggling
with adversity. You are absolutely excluded from all contemplation of
results. It was your deceased friend's right to make the will; it is
yours simply to see it executed. Now, in opposition to this primary
class of actions stands another, such as the habit of intoxication,
which are known to be wrong only by observing the consequences. If
drunkenness did not terminate, after some years, in producing bodily
weakness, irritability in the temper, and so forth, it would _not_
be a vicious act. And accordingly, if a transcendent motive should
arise in favor of drunkenness, as that it would enable you to face a
degree of cold, or contagion, else menacing to life, a duty would
arise, _pro hac vice_, of getting drunk. We had an amiable friend
who suffered under the infirmity of cowardice; an awful coward he was
when sober; but, when very drunk, he had courage enough for the Seven
Champions of Christendom, Therefore, in an emergency, where he knew
himself suddenly loaded with the responsibility of defending a family,
we approved highly of his getting drunk. But to violate a trust could
never become right under any change of circumstances. Coleridge,
however, altogether overlooked this distinction: which, on the other
hand, stirring in Paley's mind, but never brought out to distinct
consciousness, nor ever investigated, nor limited, has undermined his
system. Perhaps it is not very important how a man _theorizes_
upon morality; happily for us all, God has left no man in such
questions practically to the guidance of his understanding; but still,
considering that academic bodies _are_ partly instituted for the
support of speculative truth as well as truth practical, we must think
it a blot upon the splendor of Oxford and Cambridge that both of them,
in a Christian land, make Paley the foundation of their ethics; the
alternative being Aristotle. And, in our mind, though far inferior as a
moralist to the Stoics, Aristotle is often less of a pagan than Paley.

Coleridge's dislike to Sir Sidney Smith and the Egyptian Lord
Hutchinson fell under the category of Martial's case.

'Non amo te, Sabidi, nec possum dicere quare,
Hoc solum novi--non amo te, Sabidi.'

Against Lord Hutchinson, we never heard him plead anything of moment,
except that he was finically Frenchified in his diction; of which he
gave this instance--that having occasion to notice a brick wall, (which
was literally _that_, not more and not less,) when reconnoitring
the French defences, he called it a _revêtement_. And we ourselves
remember his using the French word _gloriole_ rather ostentatiously;
that is, when no particular emphasis attached to the case. But every
man has his foibles; and few, perhaps, are less conspicuously annoying
than this of Lord Hutchinson's. Sir Sidney's crimes were less
distinctly revealed to our mind. As to Cuvier, Coleridge's hatred of
_him_ was more to our taste; for (though quite unreasonable, we fear)
it took the shape of patriotism. He insisted on it, that our British
John Hunter was the genuine article, and that Cuvier was a humbug. Now,
speaking privately to the public, we cannot go quite so far as _that_.
But, when publicly we address that most respectable character, _en
grand costume_, we always mean to back Coleridge. For we are a horrible
John Bull ourselves. As Joseph Hume observes, it makes no difference to
us--right or wrong, black or white--when our countrymen are concerned.
And John Hunter, notwithstanding he had a bee in his bonnet, [Footnote:
_Vide_, in particular, for the most exquisite specimen of pigheadedness
that the world can furnish, his perverse evidence on the once famous
case at the Warwick assizes, of Captain Donelan for poisoning his
brother-in-law, Sir Theodosius Boughton.] was really a great man;
though it will not follow that Cuvier must, therefore, have been a
little one. We do not pretend to be acquainted with the tenth part of
Cuvier's performances; but we suspect that Coleridge's range in that
respect was not much greater than our own.

Other cases of monomaniac antipathy we might revive from our
recollections of Coleridge, had we a sufficient motive. But in
compensation, and by way of redressing the balance, he had many strange
likings--equally monomaniac--and, unaccountably, he chose to exhibit
his whimsical partialities by dressing up, as it were, in his own
clothes, such a set of scarecrows as eye has not beheld. Heavens! what
an ark of unclean beasts would have been Coleridge's private
_menagerie_ of departed philosophers, could they all have been
trotted out in succession! But did the reader feel them to be the awful
bores which, in fact, they were? No; because Coleridge had blown upon
these withered anatomies, through the blowpipe of his own creative
genius, a stream of gas that swelled the tissue of their antediluvian
wrinkles, forced color upon their cheeks, and splendor upon their
sodden eyes. Such a process of ventriloquism never _has_ existed.
He spoke by their organs. They were the tubes; and he forced through
their wooden machinery his own Beethoven harmonies.

First came Dr. Andrew Bell. We knew him. Was he dull? Is a wooden spoon
dull? Fishy were his eyes; torpedinous was his manner; and his main
idea, out of two which he really had, related to the moon--from which
you infer, perhaps, that he was lunatic. By no means. It was no craze,
under the influence of the moon, which possessed him; it was an idea of
mere hostility to the moon. The Madras people, like many others, had an
idea that she influenced the weather. Subsequently the Herschels,
senior and junior, systematized this idea; and then the wrath of
Andrew, previously in a crescent state, actually dilated to a
plenilunar orb. The Westmoreland people (for at the lakes it was we
knew him) expounded his condition to us by saying that he was
'maffled;' which word means 'perplexed in the extreme.' His wrath did
not pass into lunacy; it produced simple distraction; an uneasy
fumbling with the idea; like that of an old superannuated dog who longs
to worry, but cannot for want of teeth. In this condition you will
judge that he was rather tedious. And in this condition Coleridge took
him up. Andrew's other idea, because he _had_ two, related to
education. Perhaps six-sevenths of that also came from Madras. No
matter, Coleridge took _that_ up; Southey also; but Southey with
his usual temperate fervor. Coleridge, on the other hand, found
celestial marvels both in the scheme and in the man. Then commenced the
apotheosis of Andrew Bell: and because it happened that his opponent,
Lancaster, between ourselves, really _had_ stolen his ideas from
Bell, what between the sad wickedness of Lancaster and the celestial
transfiguration of Bell, gradually Coleridge heated himself to such an
extent, that people, when referring to that subject, asked each other,
'Have you heard Coleridge lecture on _Bel and the Dragon_?'

The next man glorified by Coleridge was John Woolman, the Quaker. Him,
though we once possessed his works, it cannot be truly affirmed that we
ever read. Try to read John, we often did; but read John we did not.
This, however, you say, might be our fault, and not John's. Very
likely. And we have a notion that now, with our wiser thoughts, we
_should_ read John, if he were here on this table. It is certain
that he was a good man, and one of the earliest in America, if not in
Christendom, who lifted up his hand to protest against the slave-trade.
But still, we suspect, that had John been all that Coleridge
represented, he would not have repelled us from reading his travels in
the fearful way that he did. But, again, we beg pardon, and entreat the
earth of Virginia to lie light upon the remains of John Woolman; for he
was an Israelite, indeed, in whom there was no guile.

The third person raised to divine honors by Coleridge was Bowyer, the
master of Christ's Hospital, London--a man whose name rises into the
nostrils of all who knew him with the gracious odor of a tallow-
chandler's melting-house upon melting day, and whose memory is embalmed
in the hearty detestation of all his pupils. Coleridge describes this
man as a profound critic. Our idea of him is different. We are of
opinion that Bowyer was the greatest villain of the eighteenth century.
We may be wrong; but we cannot be _far_ wrong. Talk of knouting
indeed! which we did at the beginning of this paper in the mere
playfulness of our hearts--and which the great master of the knout,
Christopher, who visited men's trespasses like the Eumenides, never
resorted to but in love for some great idea which had been outraged;
why, this man knouted his way through life, from bloody youth up to
truculent old age. Grim idol! whose altars reeked with children's
blood, and whose dreadful eyes never smiled except as the stern goddess
of the Thugs smiles, when the sound of human lamentations inhabits her
ears. So much had the monster fed upon this great idea of 'flogging,'
and transmuted it into the very nutriment of his heart, that he seems
to have conceived the gigantic project of flogging all mankind; nay
worse, for Mr. Gillman, on Coleridge's authority, tells us (p. 24) the
following anecdote:--'"_Sirrah, I'll flog you_," were words so
familiar to him, that on one occasion some _female_ friend of one
of the boys,' (who had come on an errand of intercession,) 'still
lingering at the door, after having been abruptly told to go, Bowyer
exclaimed--"Bring that woman here, and I'll flog her."'

To this horrid incarnation of whips and scourges, Coleridge, in his
_Biographia Literaria_, ascribes ideas upon criticism and taste,
which every man will recognise as the intense peculiarities of
Coleridge. Could these notions really have belonged to Bowyer, then how
do we know but he wrote _The Ancient Mariner_? Yet, on consideration,
no. For even Coleridge admitted that, spite of his fine theorizing upon
composition, Mr. Bowyer did not prosper in the practice. Of which he
gave us this illustration; and as it is supposed to be the only
specimen of the Bowyeriana which now survives in this sublunary world,
we are glad to extend its glory. It is the most curious example extant
of the melodious in sound:--

''Twas thou that smooth'd'st the rough-rugg'd bed of pain.'

'Smooth'd'st!' Would the teeth of a crocodile not splinter under that
word? It seems to us as if Mr. Bowyer's verses ought to be boiled
before they can be read. And when he says, 'Twas thou, what is the
wretch talking to? Can he be apostrophizing the knout? We very much
fear it. If so, then, you see (reader!) that, even when incapacitated
by illness from operating, he still adores the image of his holy
scourge, and invokes it as alone able to smooth 'his rough-rugg'd bed.'
Oh, thou infernal Bowyer! upon whom even Trollope (_History of
Christ's Hospital_) charges 'a discipline _tinctured_ with more
than due severity;'--can there be any partners found for thee in a
quadrille, except Draco, the bloody lawgiver, Bishop Bonner, and Mrs.

The next pet was Sir Alexander Ball. Concerning Bowyer, Coleridge did
not talk much, but chiefly wrote; concerning Bell, he did not write
much, but chiefly talked. Concerning Ball, however, he both wrote and
talked. It was in vain to muse upon any plan for having Ball
blackballed, or for rebelling against Bell. Think of a man, who had
fallen into one pit called Bell; secondly, falling into another pit
called Ball. This was too much. We were obliged to quote poetry against

'Letters four do form his name;
He came by stealth and unlock'd my den;
And the nightmare I have felt since then
Of thrice three hundred thousand men.'

Not that we insinuate any disrespect to Sir Alexander Ball. He was
about the foremost, we believe, in all good qualities, amongst Nelson's
admirable captains at the Nile. He commanded a seventy-four most
effectually in that battle; he governed Malta as well as Sancho
governed Barataria; and he was a true practical philosopher--as,
indeed, was Sancho. But still, by all that we could ever learn, Sir
Alexander had no taste for the abstract upon any subject; and would
have read, as mere delirious wanderings, those philosophic opinions
which Coleridge fastened like wings upon his respectable, but
astounded, shoulders.

We really beg pardon for having laughed a little at these crazes of
Coleridge. But laugh we did, of mere necessity, in those days, at Bell
and Ball, whenever we did not groan. And, as the same precise
alternative offered itself now, viz., that, in recalling the case, we
must reverberate either the groaning or the laughter, we presumed the
reader would vote for the last. Coleridge, we are well convinced, owed
all these wandering and exaggerated estimates of men--these diseased
impulses, that, like the _mirage_, showed lakes and fountains
where in reality there were only arid deserts, to the derangements
worked by opium. But now, for the sake of change, let us pass to
another topic. Suppose we say a word or two on Coleridge's
accomplishments as a scholar. We are not going to enter on so large a
field as that of his scholarship in connection with his philosophic
labors, scholarship in the result; not this, but scholarship in the
means and machinery, range of _verbal_ scholarship, is what we
propose for a moment's review.

For instance, what sort of a German scholar was Coleridge? We dare say
that, because in his version of the _Wallenstein_ there are some
inaccuracies, those who may have noticed them will hold him cheap in
this particular pretension. But, to a certain degree, they will be
wrong. Coleridge was not _very_ accurate in anything but in the
use of logic. All his philological attainments were imperfect. He did
not talk German; or so obscurely--and, if he attempted to speak fast,
so erroneously--that in his second sentence, when conversing with a
German lady of rank, he contrived to assure her that in his humble
opinion she was a ----. Hard it is to fill up the hiatus decorously;
but, in fact, the word very coarsely expressed that she was no better
than she should be. Which reminds us of a parallel misadventure to a
German, whose colloquial English had been equally neglected. Having
obtained an interview with an English lady, he opened his business
(whatever it might be) thus--'High-born madam, since your husband have
kicked de bucket'----'Sir!' interrupted the lady, astonished and
displeased. 'Oh, pardon!--nine, ten thousand pardon! Now, I make new
beginning--quite oder beginning. Madam, since your husband have cut his
stick'----It may be supposed that this did not mend matters; and,
reading that in the lady's countenance, the German drew out an octavo
dictionary, and said, perspiring with shame at having a second time
missed fire,--'Madam, since your husband have gone to kingdom come'----
This he said beseechingly; but the lady was past propitiation by this
time, and rapidly moved towards the door. Things had now reached a
crisis; and, if something were not done quickly, the game was up. Now,
therefore, taking a last hurried look at his dictionary, the German
flew after the lady, crying out in a voice of despair--'Madam, since
your husband, your most respected husband, have hopped de twig'----This
was his sheet-anchor; and, as this also _came home_, of course the
poor man was totally wrecked. It turned out that the dictionary he had
used (Arnold's, we think,)--a work of a hundred years back, and, from
mere ignorance, giving slang translations from Tom Brown, L'Estrange,
and other jocular writers--had put down the verb _sterben (to
die)_ with the following worshipful series of equivalents--1. To
kick the bucket; 2. To cut one's stick; 3. To go to kingdom come; 4. To
hop the twig.

But, though Coleridge did not pretend to any fluent command of
conversational German, he read it with great ease. His knowledge of
German literature was, indeed, too much limited by his rare
opportunities for commanding anything like a well-mounted library. And
particularly it surprised us that Coleridge knew little or nothing of
John Paul (Richter). But his acquaintance with the German philosophic
masters was extensive. And his valuation of many individual German
words or phrases was delicate and sometimes profound.

As a Grecian, Coleridge must be estimated with a reference to the state
and standard of Greek literature at that time and in this country.
Porson had not yet raised our ideal. The earliest laurels of Coleridge
were gathered, however, in that field. Yet no man will, at this day,
pretend that the Greek of his prize ode is sufferable. Neither did
Coleridge ever become an accurate Grecian in later times, when better
models of scholarship, and better aids to scholarship, had begun to
multiply. But still we must assert this point of superiority for
Coleridge, that, whilst he never was what may be called a well-mounted
scholar in any department of verbal scholarship, he yet displayed
sometimes a brilliancy of conjectural sagacity, and a felicity of
philosophic investigation, even in this path, such as better scholars
do not often attain, and of a kind which cannot be learned from books.
But, as respects his accuracy, again we must recall to the reader the
state of Greek literature in England during Coleridge's youth; and, in
all equity, as a means of placing Coleridge in the balances,
specifically we must recall the state of Greek metrical composition at
that period.

To measure the condition of Greek literature even in Cambridge, about
the initial period of Coleridge, we need only look back to the several
translations of Gray's _Elegy_ by three (if not four) of the
reverend gentlemen at that time attached to Eton College. Mathias, no
very great scholar himself in this particular field, made himself
merry, in his _Pursuits of Literature_, with these Eton translations.
In that he was right. But he was _not_ right in praising a contemporary
translation by Cook, who (we believe) was the immediate predecessor of
Porson in the Greek chair. As a specimen of this translation,
[Footnote: It was printed at the end of Aristotle's _Poetics_, which
Dr. Cook edited.] we cite one stanza; and we cannot be supposed to
select unfairly, because it is the stanza which Mathias praises in
extravagant terms. "Here," says he, "Gray, Cook, and Nature, do seem to
contend for the mastery." The English quatrain must be familiar to
every body:--

"The boast of heraldry, the pomp of pow'r,
And all that beauty, all that wealth e'er gave,
Await alike the inevitable hour:
The paths of glory lead but to the grave."

And the following, we believe, though quoting from a thirty-three
years' recollection of it, is the exact Greek version of Cook:--

'A charis eugenon, charis a basilaeidos achas
Lora tuchaes chryseaes, Aphroditaes kala ta dora,
Paith ama tauta tethiake, kai eiden morsimon amar
Proon kle olole, kai ocheto xunon es Adaen.'

Now really these verses, by force of a little mosaic tesselation from
genuine Greek sources, pass fluently over the tongue; but can they be
considered other than a _cento_? Swarms of English schoolboys, at
this day, would not feel very proud to adopt them. In fact, we remember
(at a period say twelve years later than this) some iambic verses,
which were really composed by a boy, viz., a son of Dr. Prettyman,
(afterwards Tomline,) Bishop of Winchester, and, in earlier times,
private tutor to Mr. Pitt; they were published by Middleton, first
Bishop of Calcutta, in the preface to his work on the Greek article;
and for racy idiomatic Greek, self-originated, and not a mere mocking-
bird's iteration of alien notes, are so much superior to all the
attempts of these sexagenarian doctors, as distinctly to mark the
growth of a new era and a new generation in this difficult
accomplishment, within the first decennium of this century. It is
singular that only one blemish is suggested by any of the contemporary
critics in Dr. Cook's verses, viz., in the word _xunon_, for which
this critic proposes to substitute _ooinon_, to prevent, as he
observes, the last syllable of _ocheto_ from being lengthened by
the _x_. Such considerations as these are necessary to the
_trutinæ castigatio_, before we can value Coleridge's place on the
scale of his own day; which day, _quoad hoc_, be it remembered,
was 1790.

As to French, Coleridge read it with too little freedom to find
pleasure in French literature. Accordingly, we never recollect his
referring for any purpose, either of argument or illustration, to a
French classic. Latin, from his regular scholastic training, naturally
he read with a scholar's fluency; and indeed, he read constantly in
authors, such as Petrarch, Erasmus, Calvin, &c., whom he could not then
have found in translations. But Coleridge had not cultivated an
acquaintance with the delicacies of classic Latinity. And it is
remarkable that Wordsworth, educated most negligently at Hawkshead
school, subsequently by reading the lyric poetry of Horace, simply for
his own delight as a student of composition, made himself a master of
Latinity in its most difficult form; whilst Coleridge, trained
regularly in a great Southern school, never carried his Latin to any
classical polish.

There is another accomplishment of Coleridge's, less broadly open to
the judgment of this generation, and not at all of the next--viz., his
splendid art of conversation, on which it will be interesting to say a
word. Ten years ago, when the music of this rare performance had not
yet ceased to vibrate in men's ears, what a sensation was gathering
amongst the educated classes on this particular subject! What a tumult
of anxiety prevailed to 'hear Mr. Coleridge'--or even to talk with a
man who _had_ heard him! Had he lived till this day, not Paganini
would have been so much sought after. That sensation is now decaying;
because a new generation has emerged during the ten years since his
death. But many still remain whose sympathy (whether of curiosity in
those who did _not_ know him, or of admiration in those who
_did_) still reflects as in a mirror the great stir upon this
subject which then was moving in the world. To these, if they should
inquire for the great distinguishing principle of Coleridge's
conversation, we might say that it was the power of vast combination
'in linked sweetness long drawn out.' He gathered into focal
concentration the largest body of objects, _apparently_ disconnected,
that any man ever yet, by any magic, could assemble, or, _having_
assembled, could manage. His great fault was, that, by not opening
sufficient spaces for reply or suggestion, or collateral notice, he not
only narrowed his own field, but he grievously injured the final
impression. For when men's minds are purely passive, when they are not
allowed to re-act, then it is that they collapse most, and that their
sense of what is said must ever be feeblest. Doubtless there must have
been great conversational masters elsewhere, and at many periods; but
in this lay Coleridge's characteristic advantage, that he was a great
natural power, and also a great artist. He was a power in the art, and
he carried a new art into the power.

But now, finally--having left ourselves little room for more--one or
two words on Coleridge as an opium-eater.

We have not often read a sentence falling from a wise man with
astonishment so profound, as that particular one in a letter of
Coleridge's to Mr. Gillman, which speaks of the effort to wean one's-
self from opium as a trivial task. There are, we believe, several such
passages. But we refer to that one in particular which assumes that a
single 'week' will suffice for the whole process of so mighty a
revolution. Is indeed leviathan _so_ tamed? In that case the
quarantine of the opium-eater might be finished within Coleridge's
time, and with Coleridge's romantic ease. But mark the contradictions
of this extraordinary man. Not long ago we were domesticated with a
venerable rustic, strong-headed, but incurably obstinate in his
prejudices, who treated the whole body of medical men as ignorant
pretenders, knowing absolutely nothing of the system which they
professed to superintend. This, you will remark, is no very singular
case. No; nor, as we believe, is the antagonist case of ascribing to
such men magical powers. Nor, what is worse still, the co-existence of
both cases in the same mind, as in fact happened here. For this same
obstinate friend of ours, who treated all medical pretensions as the
mere jest of the universe, every 'third day was exacting from his own
medical attendants some exquisite _tour-de-force_, as that they
should know or should do something, which, if they _had_ known or
done, all men would have suspected them reasonably of magic. He rated
the whole medical body as infants; and yet what he exacted from them
every third day as a matter of course, virtually presumed them to be
the only giants within the whole range of science. Parallel and equal
is the contradiction of Coleridge. He speaks of opium excess, his own
excess, we mean--the excess of twenty-five years--as a thing to be laid
aside easily and for ever within seven days; and yet, on the other
hand, he describes it pathetically, sometimes with a frantic pathos, as
the scourge, the curse, the one almighty blight which had desolated his

This shocking contradiction we need not press. All readers will see
_that_. But some will ask--Was Mr. Coleridge right in either view?
Being so atrociously wrong in the first notion, (viz., that the opium
of twenty-five years was a thing easily to be forsworn,) where a child
could know that he was wrong, was he even altogether right, secondly,
in believing that his own life, root and branch, had been withered by
opium? For it will not follow, because, with a relation to happiness
and tranquillity, a man may have found opium his curse, that therefore,
as a creature of energies and great purposes, he must have been the
wreck which he seems to suppose. Opium gives and takes away. It defeats
the _steady_ habit of exertion, but it creates spasms of irregular
exertion; it ruins the natural power of life, but it develops
preternatural paroxysms of intermitting power. Let us ask of any man
who holds that not Coleridge himself but the world, as interested in
Coleridge's usefulness, has suffered by his addiction to opium; whether
he is aware of the way in which opium affected Coleridge; and secondly,
whether he is aware of the actual contributions to literature--how
large they were--which Coleridge made _in spite_ of opium. All who
were intimate with Coleridge must remember the fits of genial animation
which were created continually in his manner and in his buoyancy of
thought by a recent or by an _extra_ dose of the omnipotent drug.
A lady, who knew nothing experimentally of opium, once told us, that
she 'could tell when Mr. Coleridge had taken too much opium by his
shining countenance.' She was right; we know that mark of opium
excesses well, and the cause of it; or at least we believe the cause to
lie in the quickening of the insensible perspiration which accumulates
and glistens on the face. Be that as it may, a criterion it was that
could not deceive us as to the condition of Coleridge. And uniformly in
that condition he made his most effective intellectual displays. It is
true that he might not be happy under this fiery animation, and we
fully believe that he was not. Nobody is happy under laudanum except
for a very short term of years. But in what way did that operate upon
his exertions as a writer? We are of opinion that it killed Coleridge
as a poet. 'The harp of Quantock' was silenced for ever by the torment
of opium. But proportionably it roused and stung by misery his
metaphysical instincts into more spasmodic life. Poetry can flourish
only in the atmosphere of happiness. But subtle and perplexed
investigations of difficult problems are amongst the commonest
resources for beguiling the sense of misery. And for this we have the
direct authority of Coleridge himself speculating on his own case. In
the beautiful though unequal ode entitled _Dejection_, stanza six,
occurs the following passage:

'For not to think of what I needs must feel,
But to be still and patient all I can;
_And haply by abstruse research to steal
From my own nature all the natural man_--
This was my sole resource, my only plan;
Till that, which suits a part, infects the whole,
And now is almost grown the habit of my soul.'

Considering the exquisite quality of some poems which Coleridge has
composed, nobody can grieve (or _has_ grieved) more than ourselves, at
seeing so beautiful a fountain choked up with weeds. But had Coleridge
been a happier man, it is our fixed belief that we should have had far
less of his philosophy, and perhaps, but not certainly, might have had
more of his general literature. In the estimate of the public,
doubtless, _that_ will seem a bad exchange. Every man to his taste.
Meantime, what we wish to show is, that the loss was not absolute, but
merely relative.

It is urged, however, that, even on his philosophic speculations, opium
operated unfavorably in one respect, by often causing him to leave them
unfinished. This is true. Whenever Coleridge (being highly charged, or
saturated, with opium) had written with distempered vigor upon any
question, there occurred soon after a recoil of intense disgust, not
from his own paper only, but even from the subject. All opium-eaters
are tainted with the infirmity of leaving works unfinished, and
suffering reactions of disgust. But Coleridge taxed himself with that
infirmity in verse before he could at all have commenced opium-eating.
Besides, it is too much assumed by Coleridge and by his biographer,
that to leave off opium was of course to regain juvenile health. But
all opium-eaters make the mistake of supposing every pain or irritation
which they suffer to be the product of opium. Whereas a wise man will
say, suppose you _do_ leave off opium, that will not deliver you
from the load of years (say sixty-three) which you carry on your back.
Charles Lamb, another man of true genius, and another head belonging to
the Blackwood Gallery, made that mistake in his _Confessions of a
Drunkard_. 'I looked back,' says he, 'to the time when always, on
waking in the morning, I had a song rising to my lips.' At present, it
seems, being a drunkard, he has no such song. Ay, dear Lamb, but note
this, that the drunkard was fifty-six years old, the songster was
twenty-three. Take twenty-three from fifty-six, and we have some reason
to believe that thirty-three will remain; which period of thirty-three
years is a pretty good reason for not singing in the morning, even if
brandy has been out of the question.

It is singular, as respects Coleridge, that Mr. Gillman never says one
word upon the event of the great Highgate experiment for leaving off
laudanum, though Coleridge came to Mr. Gillman's for no other purpose;
and in a week, this vast creation of new earth, sea, and all that in
them is, was to have been accomplished. We _rayther_ think, as
Bayley junior observes, that the explosion must have hung fire. But
_that_ is a trifle. We have another pleasing hypothesis on the
subject. Mr. Wordsworth, in his exquisite lines written on a fly-leaf
of his own _Castle of Indolence_, having described Coleridge as 'a
noticeable man with large grey eyes,' goes on to say, 'He' (viz.,
Coleridge) 'did that other man entice' to view his imagery. Now we are
sadly afraid that 'the noticeable man with large grey eyes' did entice
'that other man,' viz., Gillman, to commence opium-eating. This is
droll; and it makes us laugh horribly. Gillman should have reformed
_him_; and lo! _he_ corrupts Gillman. S. T. Coleridge visited
Highgate by way of being converted from the heresy of opium; and the
issue is--that, in two months' time, various grave men, amongst whom
our friend Gillman marches first in great pomp, are found to have faces
shining and glorious as that of AEsculapius; a fact of which we have
already explained the secret meaning. And scandal says (but then what
will not scandal say?) that a hogshead of opium goes up daily through
Highgate tunnel. Surely one corroboration of our hypothesis may be
found in the fact, that Vol. I. of Gillman's Coleridge is for ever to
stand unpropped by Vol. II. For we have already observed, that opium-
eaters, though good fellows upon the whole, never finish anything.

What then? A man has a right never to finish anything. Certainly he
has; and by Magna Charta. But he has no right, by Magna Charta or by
Parva Charta, to slander decent men, like ourselves and our friend the
author of the _Opium Confessions_. Here it is that our complaint
arises against Mr. Gillman. If he has taken to opium-eating, can we
help _that_? If _his_ face shines, must our faces be blackened? He has
very improperly published some intemperate passages from Coleridge's
letters, which ought to have been considered confidential, unless
Coleridge had left them for publication, charging upon the author of
the _Opium Confessions_ a reckless disregard of the temptations which,
in that work, he was scattering abroad amongst men. Now this author is
connected with ourselves, and we cannot neglect his defence, unless in
the case that he undertakes it himself.

We complain, also, that Coleridge raises (and is backed by Mr. Gillman
in raising) a distinction perfectly perplexing to us, between himself
and the author of the _Opium Confessions_ upon the question--Why
they severally began the practice of opium-eating? In himself, it
seems, this motive was to relieve pain, whereas the Confessor was
surreptitiously seeking for pleasure. Ay, indeed--where did he learn
_that_? We have no copy of the _Confessions_ here, so we cannot quote
chapter and verse; but we distinctly remember, that toothache is
recorded in that book as the particular occasion which first introduced
the author to the knowledge of opium. Whether afterwards, having been
thus initiated by the demon of pain, the opium confessor did not apply
powers thus discovered to purposes of mere pleasure, is a question for
himself; and the same question applies with the same cogency to
Coleridge. Coleridge began in rheumatic pains. What then? This is no
proof that he did not end in voluptuousness. For our parts, we are slow
to believe that ever any man did, or could, learn the somewhat awful
truth, that in a certain ruby-colored elixir, there lurked a divine
power to chase away the genius of ennui, without subsequently abusing
this power. To taste but once from the tree of knowledge, is fatal to
the subsequent power of abstinence. True it is, that generations have
used laudanum as an anodyne, (for instance, hospital patients,) who
have not afterwards courted its powers as a voluptuous stimulant; but
that, be sure, has arisen from no abstinence in _them_. There are, in
fact, two classes of temperaments as to this terrific drug--those which
are, and those which are not, preconformed to its power; those which
genially expand to its temptations, and those which frostily exclude
them. Not in the energies of the will, but in the qualities of the
nervous organization, lies the dread arbitration of--Fall or stand:
doomed thou art to yield; or, strengthened constitutionally, to resist.
Most of those who have but a low sense of the spells lying couchant in
opium, have practically none at all. For the initial fascination is for
_them_ effectually defeated by the sickness which nature has associated
with the first stages of opium-eating. But to that other class, whose
nervous sensibilities vibrate to their profoundest depths under the
first touch of the angelic poison, even as a lover's ear thrills on
hearing unexpectedly the voice of her whom he loves, opium is the
Amreeta cup of beatitude. You know the _Paradise Lost_? and you
remember, from the eleventh book, in its earlier part, that laudanum
already existed in Eden--nay, that it was used medicinally by an
archangel; for, after Michael had 'purged with euphrasy and rue' the
eyes of Adam, lest he should be unequal to the mere _sight_ of the
great visions about to unfold their draperies before him, next he
fortifies his fleshly spirits against the _affliction_ of these
visions, of which visions the first was death. And how?

'He from the well of life three drops instill'd.'

What was their operation?

'So deep the power of these ingredients pierced,
_Even to the inmost seat of mental sight_,
That Adam, now enforced to close his eyes,
Sank down, and all his spirits became entranced.
But him the gentle angel by the hand
Soon raised'----

The second of these lines it is which betrays the presence of laudanum.
It is in the faculty of mental vision, it is in the increased power of
dealing with the shadowy and the dark, that the characteristic virtue
of opium lies. Now, in the original higher sensibility is found some
palliation for the _practice_ of opium-eating; in the greater
temptation is a greater excuse. And in this faculty of self-revelation
is found some palliation for _reporting_ the case to the world,
which both Coleridge and his biographer have overlooked.


The most remarkable instance of a combined movement in society, which
history, perhaps, will be summoned to notice, is that which, in our own
days, has applied itself to the abatement of intemperance. Naturally,
or by any _direct_ process, the machinery set in motion would seem
irrelevant to the object: if one hundred men unite to elevate the
standard of temperance, they can do this with effect only by
improvements in their own separate cases: each individual, for such an
effort of self-conquest, can draw upon no resources but his own. One
member in a combination of one hundred, when running a race, can hope
for no cooperation from his ninety-nine associates. And yet, by a
secondary action, such combinations are found eminently successful.
Having obtained from every confederate a pledge, in some shape or
other, that he will give them his support, thenceforwards they bring
the passions of shame and self-esteem to bear upon each member's
personal perseverance. Not only they keep alive and continually refresh
in his thoughts the general purpose, which else might fade; but they
also point the action of public contempt and of self-contempt at any
defaulter much more potently, and with more acknowledged right to do
so, when they use this influence under a license, volunteered, and
signed, and sealed, by the man's own hand. They first conciliate his
countenance through his intellectual perceptions of what is right; and
next they sustain it through his conscience, (the strongest of his
internal forces,) and even through the weakest of his human
sensibilities. That revolution, therefore, which no combination of men
can further by abating the original impulse of temptations, they often
accomplish happily by maturing the secondary energies of resistance.

Already in their earliest stage, these temperance movements had
obtained, both at home and abroad, a _national_ range of grandeur.
More than ten years ago, when M. de Tocqueville was resident in the
United States, the principal American society counted two hundred and
seventy thousand members: and in one single state (Pennsylvania) the
annual diminution in the use of spirits had very soon reached half a
million of gallons. Now a machinery must be so far good which
accomplishes its end: the means are meritorious for so much as they
effect. Even to strengthen a feeble resolution by the aid of other
infirmities, such as shame or the very servility and cowardice of
deference to public opinion, becomes prudent and laudable in the
service of so great a cause. Nay, sometimes to make public profession
of self-distrust by assuming the coercion of public pledges, may become
an expression of frank courage, or even of noble principle, not fearing
the shame of confession when it can aid the powers of victorious
resistance. Yet still, so far as it is possible, every man sighs for a
still higher victory over himself: a victory not tainted by bribes, and
won from no impulses but those inspired by his own higher nature, and
his own mysterious force of will; powers that in no man were fully

This being so, it is well that from time to time every man should throw
out any hints that have occurred to his experience,--suggesting such as
may be new, renewing such as may be old, towards the encouragement or
the information of persons engaged in so great a struggle. My own
experience had never travelled in that course which could much instruct
me in the miseries from wine, or in the resources for struggling with
it. I had repeatedly been obliged indeed to lay it aside altogether;
but in this I never found room for more than seven or ten days'
struggle: excesses I had never practised in the use of wine; simply the
habit of using it, and the collateral habits formed by excessive use of
opium, had produced any difficulty at all in resigning it even on an
hour's notice. From opium I derive my right of offering hints at all
upon the subjects of abstinence in other forms. But the modes of
suffering from the evil, and the separate modes of suffering from the
effort of self-conquest, together with errors of judgment incident to
such states of transitional torment, are all nearly allied, practically
analogous as regards the remedies, even if characteristically
distinguished to the inner consciousness. I make no scruple, therefore,
of speaking as from a station of high experience and of most watchful
attention, which never remitted even under sufferings that were at
times absolutely frantic.

I. The first hint is one that has been often offered; viz., the
diminution of the particular liquor used, by the introduction into each
glass of some inert substance, ascertained in bulk, and equally
increasing in amount from day to day. But this plan has often been
intercepted by an accident: shot, or sometimes bullets, were the
substances nearest at hand; an objection arose from too scrupulous a
caution of chemistry as to the action upon lead of the vinous acid. Yet
all objection of this kind might be removed at once, by using beads in
a case where small decrements were wanted, and marbles, if it were
thought advisable to use larger. Once for all, however, in cases deeply
rooted, no advances ought ever to be made but by small stages: for the
effect, which is insensible at first, by the tenth, twelfth, or
fifteenth day, generally accumulates unendurably under any bolder
deductions. I must not stop to illustrate this point; but certain it
is, that by an error of this nature at the outset, most natural to
human impatience under exquisite suffering, too generally the trial is
abruptly brought to an end through the crisis of a passionate relapse.

II. Another object, and one to which the gladiator matched in single
duel with intemperance, must direct a religious vigilance, is the
_digestibility_ of his food: it must be digestible not only by its
original qualities, but also by its culinary preparation. In this last
point we are all of us Manichæans: all of us yield a cordial assent to
that Manichæan proverb, which refers the meats and the cooks of this
world to two opposite fountains of light and of darkness. Oromasdes it
is, or the good principle, that sends the food; Ahrimanes, or the evil
principle, that everywhere sends the cooks. Man has been repeatedly
described or even defined, as by differential privilege of his nature,
'A cooking animal.' Brutes, it is said, have faces,--man only has a
countenance; brutes are as well able to eat as man,--man only is able
to cook what he eats. Such are the romances of self-flattery. I, on the
contrary, maintain, that six thousand years have not availed, in this
point, to raise our race generally to the level of ingenious savages.
The natives of the Society and the Friendly Isles, or of New Zealand,
and other favored spots, had, and still have, an _art_ of cookery,
though very limited in its range: the French [Footnote: But judge not,
reader, of French skill by the attempts of fourth-rate artists; and
understand me to speak with respect of this skill, not as it is the
tool of luxury, but as it is the handmaid of health.] have an art, and
more extensive; but we English are about upon a level (as regards this
science) with the ape, to whom an instinct whispers that chestnuts may
be roasted; or with the aboriginal Chinese of Charles Lamb's story, to
whom the experience of many centuries had revealed thus much, viz.,
that a dish very much beyond the raw flesh of their ancestors, might be
had by burning down the family mansion, and thus roasting the pig-stye.
Rudest of barbarous devices is English cookery, and not much in advance
of this primitive Chinese step; a fact which it would not be worth
while to lament, were it not for the sake of the poor trembling
deserter from the banners of intoxication, who is thus, and by no other
cause, so often thrown back beneath the yoke which he had abjured. Past
counting are the victims of alcohol, that, having by vast efforts
emancipated themselves for a season, are violently forced into
relapsing by the nervous irritations of demoniac cookery. Unhappily for
_them_, the horrors of indigestion are relieved for the moment,
however ultimately strengthened, by strong liquors; the relief is
immediate, and cannot fail to be perceived; but the aggravation, being
removed to a distance, is not always referred to its proper cause. This
is the capital rock and stumbling-block in the path of him who is
hurrying back to the camps of temperance; and many a reader is likely
to misapprehend the case through the habit he has acquired of supposing
indigestion to lurk chiefly amongst _luxurious_ dishes. But, on
the contrary, it is amongst the plainest, simplest, and commonest
dishes that such misery lurks, in England. Let us glance at three
articles of diet, beyond all comparison of most ordinary occurrence,
viz., potatoes, bread, and butcher's meat. The art of preparing
potatoes for _human_ use is utterly unknown, except in certain
provinces of our empire, and amongst certain sections of the laboring
class. In our great cities,--London, Edinburgh, &c.--the sort of things
which you see offered at table under the name and reputation of
potatoes, are such that, if you could suppose the company to be
composed of Centaurs and Lapithæ, or any other quarrelsome people, it
would become necessary for the police to interfere. The potato of
cities is a very dangerous missile; and, if thrown with an accurate aim
by an angry hand, will fracture any known skull. In volume and
consistency, it is very like a paving-stone; only that, I should say,
the paving-stone had the advantage in point of tenderness. And upon
this horrid basis, which youthful ostriches would repent of swallowing,
the trembling, palpitating invalid, fresh from the scourging of
alcohol, is requested to build the superstructure of his dinner. The
proverb says, that three flittings are as bad as a fire; and on that
model I conceive that three potatoes, as they are found at many British
dinner-tables, would be equal, in principle of ruin, to two glasses of
vitriol. The same savage ignorance appears, and only not so often, in
the bread of this island. Myriads of families eat it in that early
stage of sponge which bread assumes during the process of baking; but
less than sixty hours will not fit this dangerous article of human diet
to be eaten. And those who are acquainted with the works of Parmentier,
or other learned investigators of bread and of the baker's art, must be
aware that this quality of sponginess (though quite equal to the ruin
of the digestive organs) is but one in a legion of vices to which the
article is liable. A German of much research wrote a book on the
conceivable faults in a pair of shoes, which he found to be about six
hundred and sixty-six, many of them, as he observed, requiring a very
delicate process of study to find out; whereas the possible faults in
bread, which are not less in number, require no study at all for the
defection; they publish themselves through all varieties of misery. But
the perfection of barbarism, as regards our island cookery, is reserved
for animal food; and the two poles of Oromasdes and Ahrimanes are
nowhere so conspicuously exhibited. Our insular sheep, for instance,
are so far superior to any which the continent produces, that the
present Prussian minister at our court is in the habit of questioning a
man's right to talk of mutton as anything beyond a great idea, unless
he can prove a residence in Great Britain. One sole case he cites of a
dinner on the Elbe, when a particular leg of mutton really struck him
as rivalling any which he had known in England. The mystery seemed
inexplicable; but, upon inquiry, it turned out to be an importation
from Leith. Yet this incomparable article, to produce which the skill
of the feeder must co-operate with the peculiar bounty of nature, calls
forth the most dangerous refinements of barbarism in its cookery. A
Frenchman requires, as the primary qualification of flesh meat, that it
should be tender. We English universally, but especially the Scots,
treat that quality with indifference, or with bare toleration. What we
require is, that it should be fresh, that is, recently killed, (in
which state it cannot be digestible except by a crocodile;) and we
present it at table in a transition state of leather, demanding the
teeth of a tiger to rend it in pieces, and the stomach of a tiger to
digest it.

With these habits amongst our countrymen, exemplified daily in the
articles of widest use, it is evident that the sufferer from
intemperance has a harder quarantine, in this island, to support during
the effort of restoration, than he could have anywhere else in
Christendom. In Persia, and, perhaps, there only on this terraqueous
planet, matters might be even worse: for, whilst we English neglect the
machinery of digestion, as a matter entitled to little consideration,
the people of Teheran seem unaware that there _is_ any such
machinery. So, at least, one might presume, from cases on record, and
especially from the reckless folly, under severe illness, from
indigestion, of the three Persian princes, who visited this country, as
stated by their official _mehmander_, Mr. Fraser. With us, the
excess of ignorance, upon this subject, betrays itself oftenest in that
vain-glorious answer made by the people, who at any time are admonished
of the sufferings which they are preparing for themselves by these
outrages upon the most delicate of human organs. They, for _their_
parts, 'know not if they _have_ a stomach; they know not what it
is that dyspepsy means;' forgetting that, in thus vaunting their
_strength_ of stomach, they are, at the same time, proclaiming its
coarseness; and showing themselves unaware that precisely those, whom
such coarseness of organization reprieves from immediate and seasonable
reaction of suffering, are the favorite subjects of that heavier
reaction which takes the shape of _delirium tremens_, of palsy,
and of lunacy. It is but a fanciful advantage which _they_ enjoy,
for whom the immediate impunity avails only to hide the final horrors
which are gathering upon them from the gloomy rear. Better, by far,
that more of immediate discomfort had guaranteed to them less of
reversionary anguish. It may be safely asserted, that few, indeed, are
the suicides amongst us to which the miseries of indigestion have not
been a large concurring cause; and even where nothing so dreadful as
_that_ occurs, always these miseries are the chief hinderance of
the self-reforming drunkard, and the commonest cause of his relapse. It
is certain, also, that misanthropic gloom and bad temper besiege that
class, by preference, to whom peculiar coarseness or obtuse sensibility
of organization has denied the salutary warnings and early prelibations
of punishment which, happily for most men, besiege the more direct and
obvious frailties of the digestive apparatus.

The whole process and elaborate machinery of digestion are felt to be
mean and humiliating when viewed in relation to our mere animal
economy. But they rise into dignity, and assert their own supreme
importance, when they arc studied from another station, viz., in
relation to the intellect and temper; no man dares, _then_, to
despise them: it is then seen that these functions of the human system
form the essential basis upon which the strength and health of our
higher nature repose; and that upon these functions, chiefly, the
general happiness of life is dependent. All the rules of prudence, or
gifts of experience that life can accumulate, will never do as much for
human comfort and welfare as would be done by a stricter attention, and
a wiser science, directed to the digestive system; in this attention
lies the key to any perfect restoration for the victim of intemperance:
and, considering the peculiar hostility to the digestive health which
exists in the dietetic habits of our own country, it may be feared that
nowhere upon earth has the reclaimed martyr to intemperance so
difficult a combat to sustain; nowhere, therefore, is it so important
to direct the attention upon an _artificial_ culture of those
resources which naturally, and by the established habits of the land,
are surest to be neglected. The sheet anchor for the storm-beaten
sufferer, who is laboring to recover a haven of rest from the agonies
of intemperance, and who has had the fortitude to abjure the poison
which ruined, but which also, for brief intervals, offered him his only
consolation, lies, beyond all doubt, in a most anxious regard to
everything connected with this supreme function of our animal economy.
And, as few men that are not regularly trained to medical studies can
have the complex knowledge requisite for such a duty, some printed
guide should be sought of a regular professional order. Twenty years
ago, Dr. Wilson Philip published a valuable book of this class, which
united a wide range of practical directions as to the choice of diet,
and as to the qualities and tendencies of all esculent articles likely
to be found at British tables, with some ingenious speculations upon
the still mysterious theory of digestion. These were derived from
experiments made upon rabbits, and had originally been communicated by
him to the Royal Society of London, who judged them worthy of
publication in their Transactions. I notice them chiefly for the sake
of remarking, that the rationale of digestion, as here suggested,
explains the reason of a fact, which merely _as_ a fact, had not
been known until modern times, viz., the injuriousness to enfeebled
stomachs of all fluid. Fifty years ago--and still lingering
inveterately amongst nurses, and other ignorant persons--there
prevailed a notion that 'slops' must be the proper resource of the
valetudinarian; and the same erroneous notion appears in the common
expression of ignorant wonder at the sort of breakfasts usual amongst
women of rank in the times of Queen Elizabeth. 'What robust stomachs
they must have had, to support such solid meals!' As to the question of
fact, whether the stomachs were more or less robust in those days than
at the present, there is no need to offer an opinion. But the question
of principle concerned in scientific dietetics points in the very
opposite direction. By how much the organs of digestion are feebler, by
so much is it the more indispensable that solid food and animal food
should be adopted. A robust stomach may be equal to the trying task of
supporting a fluid, such as tea for breakfast; but for a feeble
stomach, and still more for a stomach _enfeebled_ by bad habits,
broiled beef, or something equally solid and animal, but not too much
subjected to the action of fire, is the only tolerable diet. This,
indeed, is the one capital rule for a sufferer from habitual
intoxication, who must inevitably labor under an impaired digestion;
that as little as possible he should use of any liquid diet, and as
little as possible of vegetable diet. Beef, and a little bread, (at the
least sixty hours old,) compose the privileged bill of fare for his
breakfast. But precisely it is, by the way, in relation to this
earliest meal, that human folly has in one or two instances shown
itself most ruinously inventive. The less variety there is at that
meal, the more is the danger from any single luxury; and there is one,
known by the name of 'muffins,' which has repeatedly manifested itself
to be a plain and direct bounty upon suicide. Darwin, in his
'Zoonomia,' reports a case where an officer, holding the rank of
lieutenant-colonel, could not tolerate a breakfast in which this odious
article was wanting; but, as a savage retribution invariably supervened
within an hour or two upon this act of insane sensuality, he came to a
resolution that life was intolerable _with_ muffins, but still
more intolerable _without_ muffins. He would stand the nuisance no
longer; but yet, being a just man, he would give nature one final
chance of reforming her dyspeptic atrocities. Muffins, therefore, being
laid at one angle of the breakfast-table, and loaded pistols at
another, with rigid equity the Colonel awaited the result. This was
naturally pretty much as usual: and then, the poor man, incapable of
retreating from his word of honor, committed suicide,--having
previously left a line for posterity to the effect (though I forget the
expression), 'That a muffinless world was no world for him: better no
life at all than a life dismantled of muffins.'--Dr. Darwin was a showy
philosopher, and fond of producing effect, so that some allowance must
be made in construing the affair. Strictly speaking, it is probable
that not the especial want of muffins, but the general torment of
indigestion, was the curse from which the unhappy sufferer sought
relief by suicide. And the Colonel was not the first by many a million,
that has fled from the very same form of wretchedness, or from its
effects upon the genial spirits, to the same gloomy refuge. It should
never be forgotten that, although some other more overt vexation is
generally assigned as the proximate cause of suicide, and often may be
so as regards the immediate occasion, too generally this vexation
borrowed its whole power to annoy, from the habitual atmosphere of
irritation in which the system had been kept by indigestion. So that
indirectly, and virtually, perhaps, all suicides may be traced to
mismanaged digestion. Meantime, in alluding at all to so dreadful a
subject as suicide, I do so only by way of giving deeper effect to the
opinion expressed above, upon the chief cause of relapse into habits of
intemperance amongst those who have once accomplished their
deliverance. Errors of digestion, either from impaired powers, or from
powers not so much enfeebled as deranged, is the one immeasurable
source both of disease and of secret wretchedness to the human race.
Life is laid waste by the eternal fretting of the vital forces,
emanating from this one cause. And it may well be conceived, that if
cases so endless, even of suicide, in every generation, are virtually
traceable to this main root, much more must it be able to shake and
undermine the yet palpitating frame of the poor fugitive from
intemperance; since indigestion in every mode and variety of its
changes irresistibly upholds the temptation to that form of excitement
which, though one foremost cause of indigestion, is yet unhappily its
sole immediate palliation.

III. Next, after the most vigorous attention, and a scientific
attention to the digestive system, in power of operation, stands
_exercise_. Here, however, most people have their own separate
habits, with respect to the time of exercise, the duration, and the
particular mode, on which a stranger cannot venture to intrude with his
advice. Some will not endure the steady patience required for walking
exercise; many benefit most by riding on horseback; and in days when
roads were more rugged, and the springs of carriages less improved, I
have known people who found most advantage in the vibrations
communicated to the frame by a heavy rumbling carriage. For myself,
under the ravages of opium, I have found walking the most beneficial
exercise; besides that, it requires no previous notice or preparation
of any kind; and this is a capital advantage in a state of drooping
energies, or of impatient and unresting agitation. I may mention, as
possibly an accident of my individual temperament, but possibly, also,
no accident at all, that the relief obtained by walking was always most
sensibly brought home to my consciousness, when some part of it (at
least a mile and a half) has been performed before breakfast. In this
there soon ceased to be any difficulty; for, whilst under the full
oppression of opium, it was impossible for me to rise at any hour that
could, by the most indulgent courtesy, be described as within the pale
of morning, no sooner had there been established any considerable
relief from this oppression, than the tendency was in the opposite
direction; the difficulty became continually greater of sleeping even
to a reasonable hour. Having once accomplished the feat of walking at
nine A. M., I backed, in a space of seven or eight months, to eight
o'clock, to seven, to six, five, four, three; until at this point a
metaphysical fear fell upon me that I was actually backing into
'yesterday,' and should soon have no sleep at all. Below three,
however, I did not descend; and, for a couple of years, three and a
half hours' sleep was all that I could obtain in the twenty-four hours.
From this no particular suffering arose, except the nervous impatience
of lying in bed for one moment after awaking. Consequently, the habit
of walking before breakfast became at length troublesome no longer as a
most odious duty, but, on the contrary, as a temptation that could
hardly be resisted on the wettest mornings. As to the quantity of the
exercise, I found that six miles a day formed the _minimum_ which
would support permanently a particular standard of animal spirits,
evidenced to myself by certain apparent symptoms. I averaged about nine
and a half miles a day; but ascended on particular days to fifteen or
sixteen, and more rarely to twenty-three or twenty-four; a quantity
which did not produce fatigue, on the contrary it spread a sense of
improvement through almost the whole week that followed; but usually,
in the night immediately succeeding to such an exertion, I lost much of
my sleep; a privation that, under the circumstances explained, deterred
me from trying the experiment too often. For one or two years, I
accomplished more than I have here claimed, viz., from six to seven
thousand miles in the twelve months. Let me add to this slight abstract
of my own experience, in a point where it is really difficult to offer
any useful advice, (the tastes and habits of men varying so much in
this chapter of exercise,) that one caution seems applicable to the
case of all persons suffering from nervous irritability, viz., that a
secluded space should be measured off accurately, in some private
grounds not liable to the interruption or notice of chance intruders;
for these annoyances are unendurable to the restless invalid; to be
questioned upon trivial things is death to him; and the perpetual
anticipation of such annoyances is little less distressing. Some plan
must also be adopted for registering the number of rounds performed. I
once walked for eighteen months in a circuit so confined that forty
revolutions were needed to complete a mile. These I counted, at one
time, by a rosary of beads; every tenth round being marked by drawing a
blue bead, the other nine by drawing white beads. But this plan, I
found in practice, more troublesome and inaccurate than that of using
ten detached counters, stones, or anything else that was large enough
and solid. These were applied to the separate bars of a garden chair;
the first bar indicating of itself the first decade, the second bar the
second decade, and so on. In fact, I used the chair in some measure as
a Roman abacus, but on a still simpler plan; and as the chair offered
sixteen bars, it followed, that on covering the last bar of the series
with the ten markers, I perceived without any trouble of calculation
the accomplishment of my fourth mile.

A necessity, more painful to me by far than that of taking continued
exercise, arose out of a cause which applies, perhaps, with the same
intensity only to opium cases, but must also apply in some degree to
all cases of debilitation from morbid stimulation of the nerves,
whether by means of wine, or opium, or distilled liquors. In travelling
on the outside of mails, during my youthful days, for I could not
endure the inside, occasionally, during the night-time, I suffered
naturally from cold: no cloaks, &c. were always sufficient to relieve
this; and I then made the discovery that opium, after an hour or so,
diffuses a warmth deeper and far more permanent than could be had from
any other known source. I mention this, to explain, in some measure,
the awful passion of cold which for some years haunted the inverse
process of laying aside the opium. It was a perfect frenzy of misery;
cold was a sensation which then first, as a mode of torment, seemed to
have been revealed. In the months of July and August, and not at all
the less during the very middle watch of the day, I sate in the closest
proximity to a blazing fire; cloaks, blankets, counterpanes,
hearthrugs, horse-cloths, were piled upon my shoulders, but with hardly
a glimmering of relief. At night, and after taking coffee, I felt a
little warmer, and could sometimes afford to smile at the resemblance
of my own case to that of Harry Gill. [Footnote: 'Harry Gill:'--Many
readers, in this generation, may not be aware of this ballad as one
amongst the early poems of Wordsworth. Thirty or forty years ago, it
was the object of some insipid ridicule, which ought, perhaps, in
another place, to be noticed. And, doubtless, this ridicule was
heightened by the false impression that the story had been some old
woman's superstitious fiction, meant to illustrate a supernatural
judgment on hard-heartedness. But the story was a physiologic fact;
and, originally, it had been brought forward in a philosophic work, by
Darwin, who had the reputation of an irreligious man, and even of an
infidel. A bold freethinker he certainly was: a Deist, and, by public
repute, something more.] But, secretly, I was struck with awe at the
revelation of powers so unsearchably new, lurking within old affections
so familiarly known as cold. Upon the analogy of this case, it might be
thought that nothing whatever had yet been truly and seriously felt by
man; nothing searched or probed by human sensibilities, to a depth
below the surface. If cold could give out mysteries of suffering so
novel, all things in the world might be yet unvisited by the truth of
human sensations. All experience, worthy of the name, was yet to begin.
Meantime, the external phenomenon, by which the cold expressed itself,
was a sense (but with little reality) of eternal freezing perspiration.
From this I was never free; and at length, from finding one general
ablution sufficient for one day, I was thrown upon the irritating
necessity of repeating it more frequently than would seem credible, if
stated. At this time, I used always hot water; and a thought occurred
to me very seriously that it would be best to live constantly, and,
perhaps, to sleep in a bath. What caused me to renounce this plan, was
an accident that compelled me for one day to use cold water. This,
first of all, communicated any lasting warmth; so that ever afterwards
I used none _but_ cold water. Now, to live in a _cold_ bath,
in our climate, and in my own state of preternatural sensibility to
cold, was not an idea to dally with. I wish to mention, however, for
the information of other sufferers in the same way, one change in the
mode of applying the water, which led to a considerable and a sudden
improvement in the condition of my feelings. I had endeavored to
procure a child's battledore, as an easy means (when clothed with
sponge) of reaching the interspace between the shoulders; which
interspace, by the way, is a sort of Bokhara, so provokingly situated,
that it will neither suffer itself to be reached from the north, in
which direction even the Czar, with his long arms, has only singed his
own fingers, and lost six thousand camels; nor at all better from the
south, upon which line of approach the greatest potentate in Southern
Asia, viz., No.--, in Leadenhall Street, has found it the best policy
to pocket the little Khan's murderous defiances and persevering
insults. There is no battledore long enough to reach him in either way.
In my own difficulty, I felt almost as perplexed as the Honorable East
India Company, when I found that no battledore was to be had; for no
town was near at hand. In default of a battledore, therefore, my
necessity threw my experiment upon a long hair-brush; and this,
eventually, proved of much greater service than any sponge or any
battledore; for, the friction of the brush caused an irritation on the
surface of the skin, which, more than anything else, has gradually
diminished the once continual misery of unrelenting frost; although
even yet it renews itself most distressingly at uncertain intervals.

IV. I counsel the patient not to make the mistake of supposing that his
amendment will necessarily proceed continuously, or by equal
increments; because this, which is a common notion, will certainly lead
to dangerous disappointments. How frequently I have heard people
encouraging a self-reformer by such language as this:--'When you have
got over the fourth day of abstinence, which suppose to be Sunday, then
Monday will find you a trifle better; Tuesday better still,--though
still it should be only by a trifle; and so on. You may, at least, rely
on never going back; you may assure yourself of having seen the worst;
and the positive improvements, if trifles separately, must soon gather
into a sensible magnitude.' This may be true in a case of short
standing: but, as a general rule, it is perilously delusive. On the
contrary, the line of progress, if exhibited in a geometrical
construction, would describe an ascending path upon the whole, but with
frequent retrocessions into descending curves, which, compared with the
point of ascent that had been previously gained and so vexatiously
interrupted, would sometimes seem deeper than the original point of
starting. This mortifying tendency I can report from experience many
times repeated with regard to opium; and so unaccountably, as regarded
all the previous grounds of expectation, that I am compelled to suppose
it a tendency inherent in the very nature of all self-restorations for
animal systems. They move perhaps necessarily _per saltum_, by,
intermitting spasms, and pulsations of unequal energy.

V. I counsel the patient frequently to call back before his thoughts--
when suffering sorrowful collapses, that seem unmerited by anything
done or neglected--that such, and far worse, perhaps, must have been
his experience, and with no reversion of hope behind, had he persisted
in his intemperate indulgencies; _these_ also suffer their own
collapses, and (so far as things not co-present can be compared) by
many degrees more shocking to the genial instincts.

VI. I exhort him to believe, that no movement on his own part, not the
smallest conceivable, towards the restoration of his healthy state, can
by possibility perish. Nothing in this direction is finally lost; but
often it disappears and hides itself; suddenly, however, to reappear,
and in unexpected strength, and much more hopefully; because such
minute elements of improvement, by reappearing at a remoter stage, show
themselves to have combined with other elements of the same kind: so
that equally by their gathering tendency and their duration through
intervals of apparent darkness, and below the current of what seemed
absolute interruption, they argue themselves to be settled in the
system. There is no good gift that does not come from God: almost his
greatest is health, with the peace which it inherits; and man must reap
_this_ on the same terms as he was told to reap God's earliest
gift, the fruits of the earth, viz.: 'in the sweat of his brow,'
through labor, often through sorrow, through disappointment, but still
through imperishable perseverance, and hoping under clouds, when all
hope seems darkened.

VII. It is difficult, in selecting from many memoranda of warning and
encouragement, to know which to prefer when the space disposable is
limited. But it seems to me important not to omit this particular
caution: The patient will be naturally anxious, as he goes on,
frequently to test the amount of his advance, and its rate, if that
were possible. But this he will see no mode of doing, except through
tentative balancings of his feelings, and generally of the moral
atmosphere around him, as to pleasure and hope, against the
corresponding states, so far as he can recall them from his periods of
intemperance. But these comparisons, I warn him, are fallacious, when
made in this way; the two states are incommensurable on any plan of
_direct_ comparison. Some common measure must be found, and,
_out of himself_; some positive fact, that will not bend to his
own delusive feeling at the moment; as, for instance, in what degree he
finds tolerable what heretofore was _not_ so--the effort of writing
letters, or transacting business, or undertaking a journey, or
overtaking the arrears of labor, that had been once thrown off to a
distance. If in these things he finds himself improved, by tests that
cannot be disputed, he may safely disregard any sceptical whispers from
a wayward sensibility which cannot yet, perhaps, have recovered its
normal health, however much improved. His inner feelings may not yet
point steadily to the truth, though they may vibrate in that direction.
Besides, it is certain that sometimes very manifest advances, such as
any medical man would perceive at a glance, carry a man through stages
of agitation and discomfort. A far worse condition might happen to be
less agitated, and so far more bearable. Now, when a man is positively
suffering discomfort, when he is below the line of pleasurable feeling,
he is no proper judge of his own condition, which he neither will nor
can appreciate. Tooth-ache extorts more groans than dropsy.

VIII. Another important caution is, not to confound with the effects of
intemperance any other natural effects of debility from advanced years.
Many a man, having begun to be intemperate at thirty, enters at sixty
or upwards upon a career of self-restoration. And by self-restoration
he understands a renewal of that state in which he was when first
swerving from temperance. But that state, for his memory, is coincident
with his state of youth. The two states are coadunated. In his
recollections they are intertwisted too closely. But life, without any
intemperance at all, would soon have untwisted them. Charles Lamb, for
instance, at forty-five, and Coleridge at sixty, measured their several
conditions by such tests as the loss of all disposition to involuntary
murmuring of musical airs or fragments when rising from bed. Once they
had sung when rising in the morning light; now they sang no more. The
_vocal_ utterance of joy, for _them_, was silenced for ever.
But these are amongst the changes that life, stern power, inflicts at
any rate; these would have happened, and above all, to men worn by the
unequal irritations of too much thinking, and by those modes of care

That kill the bloom before its time,
And blanch without the owner's crime
The most resplendent hair,

not at all the less had the one drunk no brandy, nor the other any
laudanum. A man must submit to the conditions of humanity, and not
quarrel with a cure as incomplete, because in his climacteric year of
sixty-three, he cannot recover, entirely, the vivacities of thirty-
five. If, by dipping seven times in Jordan, he had cleansed his whole
leprosy of intemperance; if, by going down into Bethesda, he were able
to mount again upon the pinions of his youth,--even then he might
querulously say,--'But, after all these marvels in my favor, I suppose
that one of these fine mornings I, like other people, shall have to
bespeak a coffin.' Why, yes, undoubtedly he will, or somebody
_for_ him. But privileges so especial were not promised even by
the mysterious waters of Palestine. Die he must. And counsels tendered
to the intemperate do not hope to accomplish what might have been
beyond the baths of Jordan or Bethesda. They do enough, if, being
executed by efforts in the spirit of earnest sincerity, they make a
life of _growing_ misery moderately happy for the patient; and,
through that great change, perhaps, more than moderately useful for

IX. One final remark I will make:--pointed to the case, not of the yet
struggling patient, but of him who is fully re-established; and the
more so, because I (who am no hypocrite, but, rather, frank to an
infirmity) acknowledge, in myself, the trembling tendency at intervals,
which would, if permitted, sweep round into currents that might be hard
to overrule. After the absolute restoration to health, a man is very
apt to say,--'Now, then, how shall I use my health? To what delightful
purpose shall I apply it? Surely it is idle to carry a fine jewel in
one's watch-pocket, and never to astonish the weak minds of this world,
by wearing it and flashing it in their eyes.' 'But how?' retorts his
philosophic friend; 'my good fellow, are you not using it at this
moment? Breathing, for instance, talking to me, (though rather
absurdly,) and airing your legs at a glowing fire?' 'Why, yes,' the
other confesses, 'that is all true; but I am dull; and, if you will
pardon my rudeness, even in spite of your too philosophic presence. It
is painful to say so, but sincerely, if I had the power, at this
moment, to turn you, by magic, into a bottle of old port wine, so
corrupt is my nature, that really I fear lest the exchange might, for
the moment, strike me as agreeable.' Such a mood, I apprehend, is apt
to revolve upon many of us, at intervals, however firmly married to
temperance. And the propensity to it has a root in certain analogies
running through our nature. If the reader will permit me for a moment
the use of what, without such an apology, might seem pedantic, I would
call it the instinct of _focalizing_, which prompts such random
desires. Feeling is diffused over the whole surface of the body; but
light is focalized in the eye; sound in the ear. The organization of a
sense or a pleasure seems diluted and imperfect, unless it is gathered
by some machinery into one focus, or local centre. And thus it is that
a general state of pleasurable feeling sometimes seems too
superficially diffused, and one has a craving to intensify or brighten
it by concentration through some sufficient stimulant. I, for my part,
have tried every thing in this world except '_bang_,' which, I
believe, is obtained from hemp. There are other preparations of hemp
which have been found to give great relief from _ennui_; not
ropes, but something lately introduced, which acts upon the system as
the laughing gas (nitrous oxide) acts at times. One farmer in Mid-
Lothian was mentioned to me, eight months ago, as having taken it, and
ever since annoyed his neighbors by immoderate fits of laughter; so
that in January it was agreed to present him to the sheriff as a
nuisance. But, for some reason, the plan was laid aside; and now, eight
months later, I hear that the farmer is laughing more rapturously than
ever, continues in the happiest frame of mind, the kindest of
creatures, and the general torment of his neighborhood. Now, I confess
to having had a lurking interest in this extract of hemp, when first I
heard of it: and at intervals a desire will continue to make itself
felt for some deeper compression or centralization of the genial
feelings than ordinary life affords. But old things will not avail, and
new things I am now able to resist. Still, as the occasional craving
does really arise in most men, it is well to notice it; and chiefly for
the purpose of saying, that this dangerous feeling wears off by
degrees; and oftentimes for long periods it intermits so entirely as to
be even displaced by a profound disgust to all modes of artificial
stimulation. At those times I have remarked that the pleasurable
condition of health does _not_ seem weakened by its want of
centralization. It seems to form a thousand centres. This it is well to
know; because there are many who would resist effectually, if they were
aware of any natural change going on silently in favor of their own
efforts, such as would finally ratify the success. Towards such a
result they would gladly contribute by waiting and forbearing; whilst,
under despondency as to this result, they might more easily yield to
some chance temptation.

Finally, there is something to interest us in the _time_ at which
this temperance movement has begun to stir. Let me close with a slight
notice of what chiefly impresses myself in the relation between this
time and the other circumstances of the case. In reviewing history, we
may see something more than mere convenience in distributing it into
three chambers; ancient history, ending in the space between the
Western Empire falling and Mahomet arising; modern history, from that
time to this; and a new modern history arising at present, or from the
French Revolution. Two great races of men, our own in a two-headed
form--British and American, and secondly, the Russian, are those which,
like rising deluges, already reveal their mission to overflow the
earth. Both these races, partly through climate, or through derivation
of blood, and partly through the contagion of habits inevitable to
brothers of the same nation, are tainted carnally with the appetite for
brandy, for slings, for juleps. And no fire racing through the forests
of Nova Scotia for three hundred miles in the direction of some doomed
city, ever moved so fiercely as the infection of habits amongst the
dense and fiery populations of republican North America.

But it is remarkable, that the whole _ancient_ system of
civilization, all the miracles of Greece and Rome, Persia and Egypt,
moved by the machinery of races that were _not_ tainted with any
such popular _marasmus_. The taste was slightly sowed, as an
_artificial_ taste, amongst luxurious individuals, but never ran
through the laboring classes, through armies, through cities The blood
and the climate forbade it. In this earliest era of history, all the
great races, consequently all the great empires, threw themselves, by
accumulation, upon the genial climates of the south,--having, in fact,
the magnificent lake of the Mediterranean for their general centre of
evolutions. Round this lake, in a zone of varying depth, towered the
whole grandeurs of the Pagan earth. But, in such climates, man is
naturally temperate. He is so by physical coercion, and for the
necessities of rest and coolness. The Spaniard, the Moor, or the Arab,
has no merit in his temperance. The effort, for _him_, would be to
form the taste for alcohol. He has a vast foreground of disgust to
traverse before he can reach a taste so remote and alien. No need for
resistance in his will where nature resists on his behalf. Sherbet,
shaddocks, grapes, these were innocent applications to thirst. And the
great republic of antiquity said to her legionary sons:--'Soldier, if
you thirst, there is the river;--Nile, suppose, or Ebro. Better drink
there cannot be. Of this you may take "at discretion." Or, if you wait
till the _impedimenta_ come up, you may draw your ration of _Posca_'
What was _posca_? It was, in fact, acidulated water; three parts of
superfine water to one part of the very best vinegar. Nothing stronger
did Rome, that awful mother, allow to her dearest children, _i. e._,
her legions. Truest of blessings, that veiling itself in seeming
sternness, drove away the wicked phantoms that haunt the couches of yet
greater nations. 'The blessings of the evil genii,' says an Eastern
proverb, 'these are curses.' And the stern refusals of wisely loving
mothers,--these are the mightiest of gifts.

Now, on the other hand, our northern climates have universally the
taste, latent if not developed, for powerful liquors. And through their
blood, as also through the natural tendency of the imitative principle
amongst compatriots, from these high latitudes the greatest of our
modern nations propagate the contagion to their brothers, though
colonizing warm climates. And it is remarkable that our modern
preparations of liquors, even when harmless in their earliest stages,
are fitted, like stepping-stones, for making the transition to higher
stages that are _not_ harmless. The weakest preparations from
malt, lead, by graduated steps, to the strongest; until we arrive at
the intoxicating porter of London, which, under its local name (so
insidiously delusive) of '_beer_,' diffuses the most extensive

Under these marked circumstances of difference between the ruling races
of antiquity and of our modern times, it now happens that the greatest
era by far of human expansion is opening upon us. Two vast movements
are hurrying into action by velocities continually accelerated--the
great revolutionary movement from political causes concurring with the
great physical movement in locomotion and social intercourse, from the
gigantic (though still infant) powers of steam. No such Titan resources
for modifying each other were ever before dreamed of by nations: and
the next hundred years will have changed the face of the world. At the
opening of such a crisis, had no third movement arisen of resistance to
intemperate habits, there would have been ground for despondency as to
the amelioration of the human race. But, as the case stands, the new
principle of resistance nationally to bad habits, has arisen almost
concurrently with the new powers of national intercourse; and
henceforward by a change equally sudden and unlooked for, that new
machinery, which would else most surely have multiplied the ruins of
intoxication, has become the strongest agency for hastening its


Few people need to be told--that associations exist up and down
Christendom, having the ambitious object of abolishing war. Some go so
far as to believe that this evil of war, so ubiquitous, so ancient and
apparently so inalienable from man's position upon earth, is already
doomed; that not the private associations only, but the prevailing
voice of races the most highly civilized, may be looked on as tending
to confederation against it; that sentence of extermination has
virtually gone forth, and that all which remains is gradually to
execute that sentence. Conscientiously I find myself unable to join in
these views. The project seems to me the most romantic of all romances
in the course of publication. Consequently, when asked to become a
member in any such association, I have always thought it most
respectful, because most sincere, to decline. Yet, as it is painful to
refuse all marks of sympathy with persons whose motives one honors, I
design at my death to bequeath half-a-crown to the chief association
for extinguishing war; the said half-crown to be improved in all time
coming for the benefit of the association, under the trusteeship of
Europe, Asia, and America, but not of Africa. I really dare not trust
Africa with money, she is not able as yet to take care of herself. This
half-crown, a fund that will overshadow the earth before it comes to be
wanted under the provisions of my will, is to be improved at any
interest whatever--no matter what; for the vast period of the
accumulations will easily make good any tardiness of advance, long
before the time comes for its commencing payment; a point which will be
soon understood from the following explanation, by any gentleman that
hopes to draw upon it.

There is in Ceylon a granite _cippus_, or monumental pillar, of
immemorial antiquity; and to this pillar a remarkable legend is
attached. The pillar measures six feet by six, _i. e._ thirty-six
square feet, on the flat tablet of its horizontal surface; and in
height several _riyanas_, (which arc Ceylonese cubits of eighteen
inches each,) but of these cubits, there are either eight or twelve;
excuse me for having forgotten which. At first, perhaps, you will be
angry, viz., when you hear that this simple difference of four cubits,
or six feet, measures a difference for your expectations, whether you
count your expectations in kicks or halfpence, that absolutely strikes
horror into arithmetic. The singularity of the case is, that the very
solemnity of the legend and the wealth of the human race in time,
depend upon the cubical contents of the monument, so that a loss of one
granite chip is a loss of a frightful infinity; yet, again, for that
very reason, the loss of all _but_ a chip, leaves behind riches so
appallingly too rich, that everybody is careless about the four cubits.
Enough is as good as a feast. Two bottomless abysses take as much time
for the diver as ten; and five eternities are as frightful to look down
as four-and-twenty. In the Ceylon legend all turns upon the
inexhaustible series of ages which this pillar guarantees. But, as one
inexhaustible is quite enough for one race of men, and you are sure of
more by ineffable excess than you can use in any private consumption of
your own, you become generous; 'and between friends,' you say, in
accepting my apologies for the doubtful error as to the four cubits,
'what signifies an infinity more or less?'

For the Ceylonese legend is this, that once in every hundred years an
angel visits this granite pillar. He is dressed in a robe of white
muslin, muslin of that kind which the Romans called _aura textilis_--
woven, as might seem, from zephyrs or from pulses of the air, such in
its transparency, such in its gossamer lightness. Does the angel touch
the pillar with his foot? Oh no! Even _that_ would be something, but
even _that_ is not allowed. In his soundless flight across it, he
suffers the hem of his impalpable robe to sweep the surface as softly
as a moon-beam. So much and no more of pollution he endures from
contact with earthly objects. The lowest extremity of his dress,
but with the delicacy of light, grazes the granite surface. And
_that_ is all the attrition which the sacred granite receives in
the course of any one century, and this is all the progress which we,
the poor children of earth, in any one century make towards the
exhaustion of our earthly imprisonment. But, argues the subtle legend,
even _that_ attrition, when weighed in metaphysical scales, cannot
be denied its value; it has detached from the pillar an atom (no matter
that it is an invisible atom) of granite dust, the ratio of which atom
to a grain avoirdupois, if expressed as a fraction of unity, would by
its denominator stretch from the Accountant-General's office in London
to the Milky Way. Now the total mass of the granite represents, on this
scheme of payment, the total funded debt of man's race to Father Time
and earthly corruption; all this intolerable score, chalked up to our
debit, we by ourselves and our representatives have to rub off, before
the granite will be rubbed away by the muslin robe of the proud flying
angel, (who, if he were a good fellow, might just as well give a sly
kick with his heel to the granite,) before time will be at an end, and
the burden of flesh accomplished. But you hear it expressed in terms
that will astonish Baron Rothschild, what is the progress in
liquidation which we make for each particular century. A billion of
centuries pays off a quantity equal to a pinch of snuff. Despair seizes
a man in contemplating a single _coupon_, no bigger than a
visiting card, of such a stock as this; and behold we have to keep on
paying away until the total granite is reduced to a level with a grain
of mustard-seed. But when that is accomplished, thank heaven, our last
generation of descendants will be entitled to leave at Master Time's
door a visiting card, which the meagre shadow cannot refuse to take,
though he will sicken at seeing it; viz., a P. P. C. card, upon seeing
which, the old thief is bound to give receipt in full for all debts and
pretended arrears.

The reader perhaps knows of debts on both sides the Atlantic that have
no great prospect of being paid off sooner than this in Ceylon.

And naturally, to match this order of debts, moving off so slowly,
there are funds that accumulate as slowly. My own funded half-crown is
an illustration. The half-crown will travel in the inverse order of the
granite pillar. The pillar and the half-crown move upon opposite tacks;
and there _is_ a point of time (which it is for Algebra to investigate)
when they will cross each other in the exact moment of their several
bisections--my aspiring half-crown tending gradually towards
the fixed stars, so that perhaps it might be right to make the
man in the moon trustee for that part of the accumulations which rises
above the optics of sublunary bankers; whilst the Ceylon pillar is
constantly unweaving its own granite texture, and dwindling earthwards.
It is probable that each of the parties will have reached its
consummation about the same time. What is to be done with the mustard-
seed, Ceylon has forgotten to say. But what is to be done with the
half-crown and its surplus, nobody can doubt after reading my last will
and testament. After reciting a few inconsiderable legacies to the
three continents, and to the man in the moon, for any trouble they may
have had in managing the hyperbolical accumulations, I go on to
observe, that, when war is reported to have taken itself off for ever,
'and no mistake,' (because I foresee many false alarms of a perpetual
peace,) a variety of inconveniences will arise to all branches of the
United Service, including the Horse Marines. Clearly there can be no
more half-pay; and even more clearly, there is an end to full-pay.
Pensions are at an end for 'good service.' Allowances for wounds cannot
be thought of, when all wounds shall have ceased except those from
female eyes--for which the Horse Guards is too little advanced in
civilization to make any allowance at all. Bargains there will be no
more amongst auctions of old Government stores. Birmingham will be
ruined, or so much of it as depended on rifles. And the great Scotch
works on the river Carron will be hungering for beef, so far as Carron
depended for beef upon carronades. Other arrears of evil will stretch
after the extinction of war.

Now upon my half-crown fund (which will be equal to anything by the
time it is wanted) I charge once and for ever the general relief of all
these arrears--of the poverty, the loss, the bankruptcy, arising by
reason of this _quietus_ of final extinction applied to war. I
charge the fund with a perpetual allowance of half-pay to all the
armies of earth; or indeed, whilst my hand is in, I charge it with
_full_ pay. And I strictly enjoin upon my trustees and executors,
but especially upon the man in the moon, if his unsocial lip has left
him one spark of gentlemanly feeling, that he and they shall construe
all claims liberally; nay, with that riotous liberality which is safe
and becoming, when applied to a fund so inexhaustible. Yes, reader, my
fund will be inexhaustible, because the period of its growth will be
measured by the concurrent deposition of the Ceylon mustard-seed from
the everlasting pillar.

Yet why, or on what principle? It is because I see, or imagine that I
see, a twofold necessity for war--necessity in two different senses--
1st, a physical necessity arising out of man's nature when combined
with man's situation; a necessity under which war may be regarded, if
you please, as a nuisance, but as a nuisance inalienable from
circumstances essential to human frailty. 2dly, a moral necessity
connected with benefits of compensation, such as continually lurk in
evils acknowledged to be such--a necessity under which it becomes
lawful to say, that war _ought_ to exist as a balance to opposite
tendencies of a still more evil character. War is the mother of wrong
and spoliation: war is a scourge of God--granted; but, like other
scourges in the divine economy, war purifies and redeems itself in its
character of a counterforce to greater evils that could not otherwise
be intercepted or redressed. In two different meanings we say that a
thing is necessary; either in that case where it is inexorably forced
on by some sad overruling principle which it is vain to fight against,
though all good men mourn over its existence and view it as an
unconditional evil; or secondly, in that case, where an instrument of
sorrowful consequences to man is nevertheless invoked and postulated by
man's highest moral interests, is nevertheless clamorously indicated as
a blessing when looked at in relation to some antagonist cause of evil
for which it offers the one only remedy or principle of palliation. The
very evil and woe of man's condition upon earth may be oftentimes
detected in the necessity of looking to some other woe as the pledge of
its purification; so that what separately would have been hateful for
itself, passes mysteriously into an object of toleration, of hope, or
even of prayer, as a counter-venom to the taint of some more mortal
poison. Poverty, for instance, is in both senses necessary for man. It
is necessary in the same sense as thirst is necessary (_i. e._
inevitable) in a fever--necessary as one corollary amongst many others,
from the eternal hollowness of all human efforts for organizing any
perfect model of society--a corollary which, how gladly would all of us
unite to cancel, but which our hearts suggest, which Scripture solemnly
proclaims, to be ineradicable from the land. In this sense, poverty is
a necessity over which we _mourn_,--as one of the dark phases that
sadden the vision of human life. But far differently, and with a stern
gratitude, we recognize another mode of necessity for this gloomy
distinction--a call for poverty, when seen in relation to the manifold
agencies by which it developes human energies, in relation to the
trials by which it searches the power of patience and religion, in
relation to the struggles by which it evokes the nobilities of
fortitude; or again, amongst those who are not sharers in these trials
and struggles, but sympathizing spectators, in relation to the
stimulation by which it quickens wisdom that watches over the causes of
this evil, or by which it vivifies the spirit of love that labors for
its mitigation. War stands, or seems to stand, upon the same double
basis of necessity; a primary necessity that belongs to our human
degradations, a secondary one that towers by means of its moral
relations into the region of our impassioned exaltations. The two
propositions on which I take my stand are these. _First_, that
there are nowhere latent in society any powers by which it can
effectually operate on war for its extermination. The machinery is not
there. The game is not within the compass of the cards. _Secondly_,
that this defect of power is, though sincerely I grieve in avowing
such a sentiment, and perhaps (if an infirm reader had his eye
upon me) I might seem, in sympathy with his weakness, to blush
--not a curse, no not at all, but on the whole a blessing from
century to century, if it is an inconvenience from year to year. The
Abolition Committees, it is to be feared, will be very angry at both
propositions. Yet, Gentlemen, hear me--strike, but hear me. I believe
that's a sort of plagiarism from Themistocles. But never mind. I have
as good a right to the words, until translated back into Greek, as that
most classical of yellow admirals. '_Pereant qui ante nos nostra

The first proposition is, that war _cannot_ be abolished. The
second, and more offensive--that war ought not to be abolished. First,
therefore, concerning the first. One at a time. Sufficient for the page
is the evil thereof! How came it into any man's heart, first of all, to
conceive so audacious an idea as that of a conspiracy against war?
Whence could he draw any vapor of hope to sustain his preliminary
steps? And in framing his plot, which way did he set his face to look
out for accomplices? Revolving this question in times past, I came to
the conclusion--that, perhaps, this colossal project of a war against
war, had been first put in motion under a misconception (natural
enough, and countenanced by innumerable books) as to the true
historical origin of wars in many notorious instances. If these had
arisen on trivial impulses, a trivial resistance might have intercepted
them. If a man has once persuaded himself, that long, costly, and
bloody wars had arisen upon a point of ceremony, upon a personal pique,
upon a hasty word, upon some explosion of momentary caprice; it is a
natural inference, that strength of national will and public
combinations for resistance, supposing such forces to have been
trained, organized, and, from the circumstances of the particular
nation, to be permanently disposable for action, might prove
redundantly effective, when pointed against a few personal authors of
war, so presumably weak, and so flexible to any stern counter-volition
as those _must_ be supposed, whose wars argued so much of vicious
levity. The inference is unexceptionable: it is the premises that are
unsound. Anecdotes of war as having emanated from a lady's tea-table or
toilette, would authorize such inference as to the facilities of
controlling them. But the anecdotes themselves are false, or false
substantially. _All_ anecdotes, I fear, are false. I am sorry to
say so, but my duty to the reader extorts from me the disagreeable
confession, as upon a matter specially investigated by myself, that all
dealers in anecdotes are tainted with mendacity. Where is the
Scotchman, said Dr. Johnson, who does not prefer Scotland to truth?
but, however this may be, rarer than such a Scotchman, rarer than the
phoenix, is that virtuous man, a monster he is, nay, he is an
impossible man, who will consent to lose a prosperous anecdote on the
consideration that it happens to be a lie. All history, therefore,
being built partly, and some of it altogether, upon anecdotage, must be
a tissue of lies. Such, for the most part, is the history of Suetonius,
who may be esteemed the father of anecdotage; and being such, he (and
not Herodotus) should have been honored with the title, _Father of
Lies_. Such is the Augustan history, which is all that remains of
the Roman empire; such is the vast series of French memoirs, now
stretching through more than three entire centuries. Are these works,
then, to be held cheap, because their truths to their falsehoods are in
the ratio of one to five hundred? On the contrary, they are better, and
more to be esteemed on that account; because, _now_ they are
admirable reading on a winter's night; whereas, written on the
principle of sticking to the truth, they would have been as dull as
ditch water. Generally, therefore, the dealers in anecdotage are to be
viewed with admiration, as patriotic citizens, willing to sacrifice
their own characters, lest their countrymen should find themselves
short of amusement. I esteem them as equal to Codrus, Timoleon, William
Tell, or to Milton, as regards the liberty of unlicensed printing. And
I object to them only in the exceptional case of their being cited as
authorities for an inference, or as vouchers for a fact. Universally,
it may be received as a rule of unlimited application,--that when an
anecdote involves a stinging repartee, or collision of ideas,
fancifully and brilliantly related to each other by resemblance or
contrast, then you may challenge it as false to a certainty. One
illustration of which is--that pretty nearly every memorable
_propos_, or pointed repartee, or striking _mot_, circulating
at this moment in Paris or London, as the undoubted property of
Talleyrand, (that eminent knave,) was ascribed at Vienna, ninety years
ago, to the Prince de Ligne, and thirty years previously, to Voltaire,
and so on, regressively, to many other wits (knaves or not); until, at
length, if you persist in backing far enough, you find yourself amongst
Pagans, with the very same repartee, &c., doing duty in pretty good
Greek; [Footnote: This is _literally_ true, more frequently than
would be supposed. For instance, a jest often ascribed to Voltaire, and
of late pointedly reclaimed for him by Lord Brougham, as being one that
he (Lord B.) could swear to for _his_, so characteristic seemed
the impression of Voltaire's mind upon the _tournure_ of the
sarcasm, unhappily for this waste of sagacity, may be found recorded by
Fabricius in the _Bibliotheca Græca_, as the jest of a Greek who
has been dead for about seventeen centuries. The man certainly

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